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GULLIVER v5.3 (2004.04.12) | Copyright 2004 T.Bone | T.Bone's GURPS Diner


Rules Upgrade for GURPS (v5.3)

aka "Still The Poor Man's GURPS Compendium III"

aka "I Got Yer BS 3.5 Right Here, Pal"



This page is outdated. ALL up-to-date GULLIVER stuff, including new versions, up-to-date downloads, and other proper links, are at the main GULLIVER page. All of the old GULLIVER pages you see appearing here are online for the curious, and likely won't stay online much longer.



By popular demand: An updated answer to the old question, "Is any of GULLIVER going to be in 4e?", and an answer to the new (very frequent) question, "Will GULLIVER be updated for 4e?" Read the FAQ from here.

Added: A very brief start at publishing "conversion notes" for 4e, until and if an updated GULLIVER does come out. This is also part of the FAQ below. Here's the direct link to the goods:


Fixed: Download links to the .sit and .zip file collections. Thanks, A. Jones!


Errata: Your Author rolls a crit miss! The rules for terminal velocity in Book 4 and in LITE (p 17, sidebar) tell you to multiply terminal velocity by the square root of air density. That should, of course, be divide, not multiply. This will be fixed in a future update.

Big thanks to I. White for the mad proofreadin' skillz!


Addendum: Friendly correspondent Gurps Fan notes that GULLIVER's arm lock rules, while neatly dealing with how to perform a lock, neglect to mention associated damage. Oops. Until this can be added in a future update, apply the same damage from the choking rules (minus any suffocation effects): success by 3 or 4 on the Contest of ST (which, of course, is aided by the Arm Lock maneuver) lets the attacker inflict damage equal to half thrust, or full thrust on success of 5 or more.

Thanks, Gurps Fan!


GULLIVER v5.3 is out!

And look what else will be out soon: GURPS 4e. What does that mean for GULLIVER? See the FAQ.


GURPS GULLIVER: [Editor's Choice] "Gulliver" is the most comprehensive re-examination of the GURPS rules on the net, covering Size, scaling and stats; shrinking and growing; flight, and literally dozens if not hundreds of other topics. – Netscape Open Directory

Vote for this site in the GURPS Top 25 List (if you like that sort of thing).



What Is It?

GULLIVER is an expansion for GURPS Third Edition.

GULLIVER focuses on all things physical for characters: building and gaming life forms of any shape or size. It's the biggest expansion ever on that topic for GURPS (or maybe any RPG). Picture a GURPS Vehicles for creatures, with a good dose of biomechanical science as its base.

It is not a single use-it-or-don't-use-it item. Not at all. It's a collection of independent and semi-independent rules additions. Many add detail and complexity. Some simplify GURPS and make it easier to play. Together, they create a more universal, generic rules set that works equally under extreme scales/situations and under normal human conditions. But you can pick as many or as few parts as you like, and mix and match as you please.

GULLIVER consists of

  1. GULLIVER LITE v1.1, a tidy PDF file presenting the core rules in 24 printable pages.
  2. GULLIVER v5.3, the full set of rules in HTML files, developed over several years.

There are several other add-ons contributed by GURPS fans, available for download.

GULLIVER is a non-commercial, fan-authored work, and is not an "official" part of the GURPS system. See the fine print here.

The name

The name is a strained acronym for GURPS Large and Little Voyages Rules.

For a more descriptive but equally silly name, try ABCDEFG (Advanced Biomechanics & Creature Design Expansion For GURPS)

Topics Covered

Topics in GULLIVER include, but are not limited to, the following:

Size, scaling and stats; shrinking and growing; ST and HT and HP and Fatigue and making them get along; natural encumbrance; weight vs mass; encumbrance on land, in water, in air, in space; powered vs unpowered flight; density and buoyancy; disadvantages and environment; gas bags and swim bladders and static lift; odd shapes and TH; fat and energy stores; bioluminescence and weird venom enhancements; all about thermal regulation; solution for "DR cheaper than HP"; new weaknesses and tolerances; skeletons, exoskeletons and invertebrates; movement and drag; every type of flight imaginable; airfoils, load ratings and other advanced wing design; grip and manual dexterity; new strikers; multiple brains; slime; antennae; deer and headlights; movement and resisting weight and fatigue; acceleration and deceleration; crawling and flopping; aquatic jumping; running takeoffs and too-fast landings; air brakes; microgravity movement; weight, and climbing; non-muscle jumping; jump angle, body position and distance; jumping speed, acceleration, air time, air resistance and escape velocity; one-handed, two-handed, and four-armed throws; throwing speed, angle, and running throws; baseball pitching and other sports throws; balance and off-balance; detailed Stealth modifiers; generic Extra Effort; target size, weapon size, Dodge, and TH; speed and range in melee combat; parrying massive attacks; size and shields and big attacks; size and weight and wrestling; pushes and slams; bear hugs and crushing; rending and amputation; weight and damage; physics-friendly judo throws; how to be saved by knockback; dealing with high AD; size and shock and damage; handling split HP; new collision and falling systems; size, poison and disease; cube-square effects and exposure hazards; light and dark; size, food requirements, and expected life span; make-your-own appendage builder system; life span meta system; scaling big and small games; size and supernormal abilities; tiny games; big games; bunny games; shrinking rays and enlargement spells; Somakinesis; underwater games; sample fantasy campaign background; sample aquatic campaign background.

Update History

From v5.0 onward:






February 1999



July 1999



July 2000



August 2001



April 2004


Jump ahead to the download

The web's largest single GURPS supplement... finally gets smaller. GULLIVER LITE is all the good stuff from the Brobdingnagian v5.3 boiled down into 24 Lilliputian PDF-format pages. A version of these rules you can actually print out and use!

GULLIVER LITE is the new "code base" for GULLIVER, and will be the focus of ongoing improvements. LITE takes precedence in case of discrepancy with the HTML rules set.

The full HTML set still contains plenty that LITE doesn't: Detailed explanations of basic rules with additional topics and options; examples galore; "designer's notes"; a ton of new and revised traits; detailed creature write-ups; campaign background ideas; and much more. Set aside a week and wallow in its pungent delights.

GULLIVER LITE's PDF format is suitable for printing on either A4- or Letter-sized paper.


Jump ahead to the download

The web's largest single GURPS supplement, in its entirety and updated with fixes and improvements.

What's New

List of changes between GULLIVER v5.2 and 5.3:

Files and Structure

There are nine Books, plus this Index:



document title


file name

creature design aids

Book 1

Size Matters

Sizing Up Creatures in GURPS


Book 2

Mobility and You

Power and Mass for Creatures in GURPS


Book 3

The Body Shop

Add-ons and Options for Creatures in GURPS


creature gaming aids

Book 4

Physical Feats

Going Places, Doing Things in GURPS


Book 5


Combat for Creatures of All Shapes and Sizes in GURPS


Book 6

Damage and Dangers

Taking It and Dishing It Out in GURPS


GM resources

Book 7

Creatures to Go

Animals, Monsters, and Races for GULLIVER


Book 8

Campaigns and Game Mastering

Putting GULLIVER to Use


Book X


GULLIVER Extras, Rejects, and Unfinished Business



There is some overlap among content within Books, but each is meant to be a stand-alone supplement for GURPS. Mix and match only those you're interested in.

File Sizes

The Books are huge. Delete what you don't need! Using an HTML editor, toss out all sections you're not interested in, or divide too-large files into multiple files.



In addition to content files, GULLIVER includes full-featured frames, created by John Wood and modified for v5.x by Your Author, for easy navigation online or offline. The frames are part of the download package.

Frame-related files are those with names ending with *frame.html, *header.html, and *menu.html: frame files, top "header" navigation files, and left-side navigation files, respectively.

After expanding the downloaded archives, keep all files in one directory.

To start GULLIVER with frames, open the file indexframe.html with your browser.

Or switch freely between frames and no frames using the links at the upper left and lower left of each content page. This works online or offline.

Level of Rules

There's no "right" way to game any specific thing. There are infinite methods, many of them equally workable and fun. To make some sense out of overflowing options, GULLIVER offers many rules in versions labeled simple, detailed, and advanced:

Pick and choose from among the options to create your own ideal set.



New traits and suggested revisions to old ones are written up in typical GURPS format, unless the suggestions are so short they take up only a couple sentences of main text.

In formatted write-ups, new advantages and disadvantages are marked (new), suggested new point costs for existing traits are marked (new cost), and larger revisions of existing traits are marked (revised).


Names of game terms and traits (new and existing) are capitalized. Non-game traits are not capitalized. For example, "Speed" is a GURPS game trait; "speed" is a generic term meaning velocity. Likewise, "radially symmetric" is an interesting creature trait, but is not a game trait with rules and a point cost.

Capitalization works similarly for races. A giant is anything big, a Giant is a specific fantasy race. There are exceptions: by convention, "human" as a race is not capitalized.


Abbreviations used include: BS = Basic Set 3rd Edition; BT = Bio-Tech; CI = Compendium I; CII = Compendium II; VE = Vehicles 2nd Edition; FF = Fantasy Folk 1st edition (sorry, 2E not available); MA = Martial Arts 2nd edition.


These new terms are used throughout all of the Books. Keep this list handy!

Area Scale: Linear Scale squared, representing surface area compared to the human norm. See Size.

athletics: Any DX or skill roll involving full body movement: Acrobatics, Jumping, melee combat skills, sports skills, and many more. Examples of activities not falling under athletics include Sleight of Hand, craft skills, and firing guns or other missile weapons.

balance: Not a skill, but refers to any DX or skill roll to maintain footing, avoid falling down, balance on a narrow perch, etc. Includes rolls to stay upright after knockback or a failed kick.

Combat ST: ST for damage purposes, not lifting or carrying. See Load ST.

Environment: The environments characters operate in: land, water, and air (or terrestrial, aquatic, and aerial). A home Environment is any that you operate effectively in; your primary Environment is your main one for cost purposes.

linear dimension: Approximate height or length, generally head to hind feet (ignoring long necks and tails). Determines Size.

Linear Scale: Linear dimension compared to the human norm: x1/2, x1, etc. See Size.

Load ST: Half-priced ST for lifting and carrying purposes, as well as Contests of ST, and not damage purposes. See Combat ST.

mass: Amount of "stuff", measured in pounds at 1-g. Unlike weight, does not change under natural conditions.

MAR: Mass-to-Area Ratio, expressed as a multiple of typical human norm (typically equal to Linear Scale; see the Appendix of Book 1 for detailed calculation). Needed only for advanced stuff. See WAR.

mobility, movement, maneuverability: Movement lets you go from A to B; maneuverability is ability to turn quickly, Dodge, etc. Mobility covers both.

mode of movement: Same as Environment, referring specifically to movement. You will likely have a different Move score in each of your modes.

MSR: Mass-to-Strength Ratio. Mass divided by Load ST. See WSR.

natural encumbrance: Encumbrance from body weight or mass alone, without carried items. Heavy creatures will be encumbered by their own weight or mass (positive encumbrance); light ones will enjoy speed and agility bonuses (negative encumbrance).

References to "Half modifier for encumbrance" are the standard GURPS penalties for encumbrance; "Full modifier" is a larger penalty (similar to the GURPS penalty for Swimming).

Nuisance Effect: Limitations introduced in Psionics and developed further in Bio-Tech. A Nuisance Effect: Temporary Disadvantage is a disadvantage that takes effect only when a certain advantage is used. This acts as a limitation on the cost of the advantage: -1% per point of the original disadvantage. However, the point break from a Nuisance Effect cannot exceed 80% of the value of the original disadvantage. See Bio-Tech p. 137 for details and examples.

Size: A label for rough size groupings, based on TH modifier for size. A human is Size 0, a humanoid half as large in all dimensions is Size -2, etc.

speed: Capitalized, the same as Basic Speed; uncapitalized, a generic term for speed of movement (i.e., Move).

thrust: Motive power in water or air. Equals Load ST by default, but can differ.

traits: Advantages, disadvantages, and attributes.

Volume Scale: Linear Scale cubed, representing volume and mass compared to the human norm. See Size.

WAR: As MAR, but replacing mass with weight.

weight: Mass x gravity. Also changes with effects of buoyancy. Weight is measured in lbs. and can be negative.

WSR: Weight-to-Strength Ratio. Weight divided by Load ST. See MSR.


The downloads below utilize an HTTP server.


Single PDF file

You need Adobe Acrobat or other PDF viewer to read this file. (Mac OS X's built-in Preview app works wonderfully.)


Compressed file sets

Set consists of nine content files, this Index page, and all frame-related files. Download and decompress, using the appropriate software.

Note: Windows users can open Stuffit files using Aladdin Software's free Stuffit Expander.

Individual files

Head right for the individual Books, using the file list above. As each file loads, save it as a source file (HTML code), and you'll have the full set of Books, if not the navigation frames.

Must-have Toys

GULLIVER data file for GURPS Character Assistant

Data file that brings GULLIVER options to the popular GURPS Character Assistant program! (Note: This file was created for GULLIVER v5.2.)

Download the data file here (look under the "From Other Sources" heading), and find more information on Miser Software's GURPS Character Assistant here.

Send your questions (and heaping bouquets of thanks) to file creator David L. Watkin! (Anti-SPAM measure: Remove the name of our favorite game from this address:

Racial Traits List

ALL GURPS and v5.2 GULLIVER traits, listed in Book 3 fashion, in one text file. Perfect as a "checklist" for creature designs. Expertly compiled by Joel Oberdieck.

Weapon Design System spreadsheet

This system is now moved to GLAIVE (relatively unchanged; sorry, no meaningful update!). Head there for the rules and the spreadsheet.


For those who love "designer's notes" in RPGs, some lengthy answers to questions paraphrased from reader feedback:


Q: GULLIVER is "scale rules", right?

A: Only a small portion is directly concerned with "scaling", in the narrow sense of adjusting stats for creature size. There are also rules for centering gameplay around any character size, but anyone who's played GURPS Bunnies & Burrows is familiar with that process.

The whole work, though, is concerned with "scale" in the broader sense of creating rules at every level, not only stats, that work independently of unit measurements, creature size, power level, and so on. That's the real issue of scale tackled here.

Q: I need it to play big or small creatures, right?

A: No. You don't need any of it to play anything. In fact, you can GM all situations on the fly and dump 90% of existing GURPS rules. Maybe 95%. Roleplaying is about adventure, storytelling, characters, and having fun, not rules.

That said, players do like to resolve many situations with rules, which is why there's the whole Basic Set. And the Compendiums. And Vehicles, and Martial Arts, and detailed job tables, and precise mechanics for thousands of spells, and...

If character and storytelling are the heart of roleplaying, simulation at least merits a lung. GURPS began life as the combat simulation game Man-to-Man and still revels in realistic simulation. GULLIVER adds more of that – but only for those who want it.

Q: It's a "fix" for broken GURPS stuff, right?

A: Please see it as a tribute to GURPS, not a repair job! There are plenty of "fixes" for rules, but most of GURPS is a remarkably robust and flexible system for simulating "reality", or a gameable version of it.

If anything, GULLIVER is concerned with extending GURPS where the game stops short of its own considerable potential. All of its detailed simulation would be pointless if GURPS weren't already equipped to support it.

Q: It's not "compatible" with GURPS, right?

A: Ha. There are a lot of areas where a "fresh start" approach would have been the easiest and cleanest, and to be sure, many peripheral topics do take the clean sheet approach. But where core rules are involved, GULLIVER bends itself into pretzels to stay compatible. (For example, its "split" handling of ST in won't win points for elegance; it's a tradeoff between the need to fix aspects of the stat in the game, while staying compatible with GURPS rules and designs.)

Of course, there's no harm in suggesting clean-sheet optional approaches to core rules, and the text indulges at times.

Q: It's complex / it's difficult / it's <fill in the blank>

A: Okay, this is a common comment, and a pet peeve. The problem: in the context of complex/simple/difficult/easy, there is no "it". "It" is a set of many, many independent rules items, some of which are complex (these are usually labeled as such) and can slow play, and some of which are easy and can speed up play. If you'd to talk about complex/simple/difficult/easy, Your Author would like to hear it – but please talk about specific items, not a whole "it"!

If you're just looking for the simple/easy parts, it's true, they may be hard to pick out quickly. See this separate list of GULLIVER bits that Your Author would actually recommend for 4e inclusion; it does a better job of identifying the simplifications. (And as shown here, SJG had similar thoughts about many of those items.)

Q: What's cool in all that text?

A: Humility off:

The natural encumbrance rules inject power-vs-weight considerations into creature design, modeling creature mobility more accurately than any RPG ever has. Yet they're only a simple extension of the GURPS encumbrance rules we all use, not a brand new system.

Rules for athletic feats go far beyond the cursory once-over of other RPGs. The jumping rules work for Olympic athletes and Pedicula pedicula (fleas) alike; the throwing rules can measure the speed of a major league fastball in mph.

Simulation lovers should enjoy detailed handling of collisions, weight vs mass in mobility, "working" airfoils in wings, Move adjustments for air or water drag, attacker and target size in combat, effects of size on sustenance requirements and life span, and other flights of geekery.

Simplicity fans will appreciate new, easier ways to handle situations including odd-sized creature design, shock and pain, and relative size in combat, with fewer patches, special rules, and tables than GURPS uses.

There are lots of new creature features for getting a design just right. Choose your level of bioluminescence, mix and match claw types, create a squishy body, steady yourself with a tail, or add oddball details like a slimy hide and giant eyes.

There are lesser, easy-to-miss goodies hidden among the reams of text; you'll have to find your own favorites.

Q: What's not so cool?

A: Boy, this one's easy. The HTML files are long. That's a tremendous load of reading, though GULLIVER LITE puts all the important stuff into a very useable size.

As mentioned earlier, there are compromises made for playability and compatibility, at the expense of greater realism or a clean tossing out of legacy rules.

And there's no way Your Author and his immediate circle could have playtested this all! Many of the basics, like natural encumbrance, size-based stats, and movement-related rules have seen the light of the gaming table. But Your Author has yet to put a Size +3, Slime-covered invertebrate with Locking Muscles and Wrestling-14 through an unarmed brawl with a Size -1 foe in microgravity while making Climbing control rolls on a cliff ledge. That's for readers to help with!

Q: Why is it so long?

A: Glad you asked. Start with the many topics covered, add reasonings behind rules, pontification on needed changes, detailing of multiple simulation options, and warnings of the pitfalls lurking under every suggested tweak, and you've got a mega-set of rules plus full designer's notes.

That's intentional; why would anyone bother to implement some unhinged fan's rules changes without a word on the point behind them? Reasonings, explanations, and options make it easy to choose or modify rules to your liking.

But it all makes the work one big, long exercise in game design, exploring the most gearheaded, dry reaches of combat, creature design, and more. Some of it's meant for immediate play, some is an investigation into how much simulation of a real-world field (primarily biomechanics) can be packed into game rules, and yet more is there just for the heck of it.

If you want just the rules, there's LITE. And the HTML files are digital text, so you can also delete everything else that you don't need.

Q: What's the "methodology" behind GULLIVER's rules creation?

A: Okay, so nobody's asked this one, but someone might, someday. Preemptively:

A "methodology" only became clear in hindsight, but it's clearly inspired by GURPS' focus on "reality check"-based simulation. You could perhaps label it "deconstruction and reconstruction". For an odd situation like whacking a tiny target with a stick, or detailing flight performance, this work tries to arrive at a "correct" simulation by breaking the situation down into the factors involved. And then trying to put those back together into some sort of game rule.

Deconstruction involves separating and looking over all of the components (i.e., what are the biological effects of size on muscle strength?). Reconstruction asks what you want to do with those (i.e., how do you want muscle strength to relate to damage in the game?).

But even if methodology was little more than the firing of a few shy, subconscious neurons, there are several intertwined design goals for GULLIVER that Your Author kept closer to the front burners:

Realism: Specifically, more realistic simulation of many physical aspects of designing and gaming characters. The underlying premise is that GURPS can offer more realistic simulation in many areas through new or revised rules, often without adding complexity.

Choice: GULLIVER's all about options, not forced changes. For those areas where increased realism does mean added complexity, it usually tries to offer an option that adds less realism but little or no extra complexity. And of course, you always retain original GURPS rules as options.

Universality: Closely tied to "genericness", or putting the GU back into GURPS. GULLIVER doesn't want to be a set of special rules for Pixies and Giants. It wants to be a set of normal, everyday game rules for humans – which happen to work for Leprechauns, Jotuns, cats, blobs, and space wyrms too.

Modularity: GULLIVER is a collection of many independent rules or systems, not a use-it-all-or-leave-it whole. Some items work best in combination with others, but overall they're mix-and-match; use as much or as little as you like. (Where necessary, there's plenty of exposition on how to use Rule X with or without Rules Y and Z.) Even the individual Books are designed to be as stand-alone as possible.

Extension: GULLIVER prefers putting existing GURPS rules into new uses, over creating all-new rules. Rules for the effects of a high ratio of ST to body mass? The basic solution's already there: just extend the existing encumbrance rules into the other direction.

Definition: Getting the terms straight does wonders for getting to the bottom of a problem. This includes correcting wrong definitions, like the mistaken "Dodge = Move" in GURPS that causes such trouble.

Simplification: GULLIVER adds lots of detail, which by definition decreases simplicity – but it also uncovers areas where cleaner design removes excess baggage. Why use GURPS' separate encumbrance rules for humans, Supers, beasts, and fliers, when one properly-done rule does for them all? Why add a separate rule for computing animals' Dodge, when the normal human rule (once defined properly!) works perfectly for animals too?

Codification: GURPS already offers stats for some large and small creatures – so why not codify guidelines for how those stats can be set with consistency? Why not codify a single master rule for collisions, which works in slams, falls, or car crashes? Codification often leads to simplification, as in core rules for pain and shock that replace a number of disparate, single-case GURPS rules, or a single set of throwing rules for both weapons and non-weapons.

Playability: Yep, even that is in there. After deconstructing a situation into a mess of components, the next step is to see whether a quick'n'easy game rule can be assembled from the parts. An example is the "simple" rule for Contests of ST, which looks foreign to a GURPS player but is easier than the existing patched rule from CII.

Compatibility: For all its changes, GULLIVER doesn't want to create a new game; it goes to great lengths to stay compatible with GURPS. Continuing with the preceding example, the default "detailed" rules for Contests of ST aren't nearly as elegant as its new "simple" rule, but are more "GURPS-like".

Completeness: Why do things halfway? Within the limits of Your Author's time, patience, and knowledge, GULLIVER tries to explore the threads of any topic far enough to touch on all likely complications, exceptions, and special considerations. This is, of course, a major hindrance to:

Brevity: Not. The Good Twin of Completeness, this goal was maimed and buried alive by its Evil Twin sibling.


Q: Where'd this all come from?

A: The short version: Years ago, Steve Jackson Games was interested in a GURPS book for tiny PCs; Your Author was interested in PCs of any odd size. They talked a little, and the original GULLIVER was written and submitted.

Through some wacky mix-up over in the Austin offices, Mr Jackson actually saw the work years after it was sent to him, and GURPS and Your Author had each moved on. GULLIVER has undergone several revisions and expansions. As Steve Jackson Games has no plan for a derivative of GULLIVER in the GURPS product lineup, these rules are now online.

Q: Why not ask SJG to publish it?

A: Aside from the first crude submission many years ago, GULLIVER's goal is not publication. First off, it'd make a lousy GURPS book as is! The HTML version has the word count of two large worldbooks or more, is as much verbose designer's notes as it is rules, takes shocking liberties with some existing rules, and includes topics nobody's ever asked about. Most GURPS players are clamoring for settings and other fun stuff, not for more rules!

Q: What about GURPS 4e? Are parts of GULLIVER in it?

A: As noted here long ago: while GULLIVER would make a poor commercial product in itself, parts of it would make fine additions to GURPS. So were those parts added to 4e?

Yes and no, though not necessarily as direct borrowings.

The fine folks at SJG have been aware of this über-supplement for GURPS. Your Author flogged it to them in person – both GULLIVER itself and its stripped-down list of 4e inclusion wannabees from Ingredients for a Better GURPS – and SJG even gave it a mention in the famous GURPS 4e poll.

In 2004 4e finally came out. Your Author compares his original wishes with what 4e brought us in The New GURPS Delivers – Or Does It?. The short story: yes, many of those wishes were granted, and the new 4e is cleaned-up, scalable, and universally and generically spiffy enough that a good swath of GULLIVER can be safely retired.

But to repeat part of that article's vital disclaimer:

This article does NOT take credit for any of the new bits in 4e, or even suggest such. I'm not the sole (nor necessarily the first) creator of many those ideas; half of them are common-sense notions that any number of players will have thought up independently. SJG, for its part, hardly needs enlightenment from benevolent fans to come up with improvements as obvious as, say, giving creatures SM, or losing an unnecessary extra table for biting damage.

Please follow the link to the article and read the rest of the disclaimer.

So, the summary: yes, many of the common-sense improvements suggested by GULLIVER are now in 4e. For that, you can thank common-sense thinking by the good folks at SJG, as well as the whole larger world of GURPS players who had latched upon and called for those changes.

Q: Will GULLIVER be updated for 4e?

There are still a number of good suggestions in Ingredients for a Better GURPS that were not reflected in 4e. And, of course, GULLIVER is chock-full of bits that are fine additions to some peoples' games, but were never suggested as being 4e additions anyway. Lots of that goodness is fair game for a 4e-compatible upgrade.

No idea when that might happen. On the gaming front, Your Author is mostly keeping busy with some brand new (and unnamed) stuff. Watch the new Games Diner's Bloggy Thing for any news of a GULLIVER update and requests for help, should those happen.

Q: What are some quickie 4e "conversion notes"?

I'll start listing these here as they come up. For starters:

What else, Dear Reader?


Q: I have questions...

A: Ask! Gurpsnet and are great places to discuss anything GURPS. Asking one of these forums lets you tap the wisdom of fellow gurpsters, who may come up with far better solutions than appear in GULLIVER.

If you want a response from Your Author, please send a CC to Your Author can't always follow the newsgroup.

Q: I see errors...

A: Send 'em in! Many readers have helped a lot by sending in notices of errors. Even notice of a typographical error is appreciated.

Your Author will make the correction and note any significant contributions in the Errata list, with your name as it appears in your email, unless instructed otherwise.

Q: Can I link to your page, or create and post my own GULLIVER spreadsheets/creature designs/rules modifications?

A: Please do! Your own web page with home-brewed additions or modifications to GULLIVER, or just a link to these pages, is a fine and good thing. You don't need permission for either. Please set links to T. Bone's GURPS Diner at . An email notice sent this way is also appreciated.

A link to your GULLIVER add-ons may appear on this site. It'll use your name and URL as contained in your web page or email message, unless you instruct otherwise.

Please exercise basic courtesies if you create add-ons. Three humble requests:

  1. Copyright: The material is the property of On your personal page of GULLIVER fixes or add-ons, please note the copyright and distinguish between that property and your own. Please don't copy or repost huge sections of GULLIVER, offer it on your own servers, or misrepresent ownership.
  2. Terminology: In any GULLIVER-related original works, please try to use terminology as it is in GULLIVER, i.e., a "Size +2" creature, not "Size Level 2" creature. If you do change terms to something you prefer, please make note of those changes for your readers.
  3. Formats: Whatever you create, you're free to post and send those files in any format you like. But files in open formats are greatly appreciated – it's not nice to ask people to pay tithes to software moguls for the right to view your file.

    Note that "everyone uses it" does not make a standard! HTML is free and widespread. Text or clean RTF is free and widespread. MS Word, on the other hand, may be fairly widespread, but it's definitely not free.

    If there isn't a nice open standard, do the best you can. For example, Excel 98 files can only be opened by Excel 98 or other new packages, but files saved as older versions of the program can be opened by many older applications or file translators.

Q: I'm creating my own RPG and want to borrow some ideas from GULLIVER. Is it okay?

A: The material is copyrighted, so your checking is appreciated! We should find it simple to agree on terms for using content in a non-commercial product. Proper credit, including what was borrowed and in what form it appears (simplified, heavily modified, as-is, etc.), plus a link to T. Bone's GURPS Diner ( ; not the main GULLIVER page), are the basics. Use in a commercial product would entail more discussion. Either way, drop a line and let's talk.

GULLIVER Around the Web

Be sure to see the add-on goodies offered under Must-Have Toys above, including a data file for GURPS Character Assistant. And on top of that, we have:

Rules in Action

A few sites offering more GULLIVER-related content. Any others out there?


The Albion gameworld uses a fair amount of GULLIVER goodness in character creation.

Caverns and Creatures

Tail Kinker's big fantasy supplement for GURPS, Caverns and Creatures, uses weapon readying time and reach rules adapted from the Weapon Design System in Book X. (C&C is a great tool for introducing D&D players to GURPS.)


Matt Jozwiak offers a GULLIVER-inspired, formulaic encumbrance variant for his "newGURPS" at .

More Sector General race designs

John Wood's GURPS site has been updated with more GULLIVER-enhanced alien designs from James White's Sector General stories. See the critters here.

Tiny people campaign

Ideas for a "modern fantasy game" employing GULLIVER rules and other house rules for 2-cm PCs. Great detail on tech and magic in the tiny world.

House rules by Raine Määttänen

Lots of combat and other rules, including a pared-down version of GULLIVER natural encumbrance rules.

Leapin' Lizards!

Alexander Shearer's The Night Sky game world page offers The Lizard Game, a brief campaign background featuring GULLIVER-scaled reptilian PCs.

Japanese translation

It's only a beginning translation of v5.0, but includes interesting translators's notes.

Rave Reviews!

Here's what the public says, in messages to Your Author or to others in online forums:

I have just finished reading over GVER 5.2, and what can I say, I am seriously impressed, it is brilliant, inspired, and just plain good. It has truly become an impressive document since the last version I looked. . . . The detailed extrapolation and in-depth treatments, and copious designers notes have truly made it much more than just a size scale to figure out ST and HP. I am majorly impressed by it.

– R.M.

I have just been reading GURPS Gulliver which I downloaded the other day. Congratulations on a fantastic product! . . . I have been playing GURPS since it was Man-to-Man, and I always knew there was things wrong with it, but could never quite pin them down. You seem to have fixed them all with a simple and elegant system! I must admit to have been disillusioned with GURPS recently, but you have inspired me again.

– M.D.

I imposed a lot of your house rules on my players (or will be shortly.) You've done some awesome work with Gulliver! I haven't gotten through all of it yet, but it looks impressive!

– R.B.

I've just glanced through GULLIVER, and I've got to say you've done a great job. . . . from the looks of it, GULLIVER is going to play a very useful role in some of my GURPS creations. Thanks for all the time you put into it!

– M.J.

Thanks for all the suggestions, and for a great product like GULLIVER. I think I'll use, and probably abuse, your rules in my next campaign.

– R.W.

BTW, love the rules. If there's anything I can do to help, let me know.

– J.S.

. . . this is just a short note to thank you for all the effort you put into GULLIVER 5.0, and to let you know that I'm writing up races from James White's Sector General universe using it.

– J.W.

First of all, Thank you for your great rules! . . . Especially GULLIVER (others were house rules) is great, it's humorous and still keeps digging into those rules, until it finds answers (and it keeps digging into many, many rules. It fixed one thing there and one thing here, I enjoyed it a lot). It could well be a GURPS worldbook by itself (Compendium III!?) . . . I think you should be working for SJG;), material has very professional style in it and it really is quite comprehensive . . . By the way, I think you underestimate your work seriously by saying that GULLIVER is not that comprehensive and detailed. As you mentioned, Comp1 & Comp2 are "prequisites" and what else than GULLIVER and those books do we need for character creation (besides any genrebooks, and of course Basic).

– L.I.

GULLIVER, with its obsession with proper usage of realworld weight, size, and environment in building worlds, is fabulicious in dealing with outsize races . . . GULLIVER takes all the wonder of GURPS' flexibility elsewhere and applies it to games that aren't based on humans on Earth. Like underwater, on high or low-g planets, for tiny or giantsize campaigns . . . or flying campaigns. I highly recommend it.

– B.B., in discussion at egroups

Hi, I am very impressed by GULLIVER and since you said you were interested in creature submissions, here's mine.

– W.K.

[Submissions are wonderful! Let this be an example to all! – T.Bone]

I found GULLIVER absolutely fantastic for creating the races for my fantasy campaign. I really wanted a way to make my races similar enough that players would be able to clue into the stereotypes, but different enough that they weren't just elves and dwarves and ogres. I wanted each race to have its own ecology and evolutionary track . . . they're _not_ from the same world.

– E., in

I have to admit that GULLIVER is just what I was looking for... to think that I was going to put effort into writing my own, and there you have it, and it is better than what I probably would have come up with (the scale stuff especially).

– J.S.

GULLIVER is the most comprehensive re-examination of the GURPS rules on the net, covering Size, scaling and stats; shrinking and growing; flight, and literally dozens if not hundreds of other topics.

Netscape Open Directory Project

I have completed reading less than half of it so far and all I can say is "WOW!" . . . Given the gear-head nature of GURPS, I am hoping that, should Steve Jackson ever consider re-writing GURPS and finally doing the 4th edition, you are called in for the work you have done here. GURPS needs rules for realistically scaling creatures, and it needs them written (as you have) in a way that integrates into the existing rules set well.

– K.L.

Mail from another satisfied customer: I've recently downloaded Gulliver and like it immensely. Just the thing for my fantasy game - real giants and dwarves!

– V.B.

... The material is awesome and really should be official IMO. The PDF format is awesomely useful and appreciated. Keep up the good work.

– A.

Perhaps the finest example of web support for a game. This expansion to GURPS has to be seen, even if you don't like GURPS much.


In my opinion, Gulliver sucks. It went a different direction than GURPS, refused to acknowledge when GURPS solutions fit better or made more sense, and continued to try and cludge its way onto a system it no longer fits.

– R.C. at

[Thank you ver – hey, wait a minute... – T.Bone]

I must say it again..... LOVE the Gulliver rules. I can't imagine building odd characters without it anymore. :)

– P.M.

I'm looking to broaden [the game] to a good hearty fantasy stew - in a wide range of serving size - and Gulliver seems just the right spice for the job... I've looked over the ST and size rules, and they are all great - well thought out, simple and even more generic than the standard GURPS.

– K.B.

Thanks again for Gulliver; here's hoping much of it will make it into GURPS 4th edition... It's kind of odd -- your rules for setting up non-humans are more complicated that current GURPS rules, yet they yield simpler and more accurate results.  I am much impressed


Greetings. Although I've been playing GURPS for years, I only recently discovered GULLIVER online. I can't tell you how refreshing it is to find something like this that is not only thorough and well written, but also clever and even funny. Thanks for producing such a great set of rules!

– E.H.

I'd like to thank you for creating Gulliver, as the best source of animal generation ever written... I would personally shell any money for an expanded and 4th-fied version of Gulliver.

– A.A.

[Best not to give me ideas. – T.Bone]

Last year I found your GULLIVER and was impressed – you have solved a lot of problems which everyone complains about but cannot do anything to solve.

– A.K.

I've just been reading through Gulliver 5.0, and I am completely stunned. It's beautiful! I'm not sure I'll ever use any of it, but I am absolutely amazed. . . . Actually, I probably will use a lot of it. In my opinion, GURPS isn't really all that universal without Gulliver. You've done a great job where some people might have just stopped playing GURPS–in fact, there are probably a lot of people whose interest in GURPS has been rekindled by the rules. Thanks, once again.

– D.H.

. . . go check out t-bone's GULLIVER rules, which outline in almost obscene detail the effects of large characters. Detailed rules on how to dodge 20-foot long swords, the effects of size on reach and step, excellent rules for encumbrance and scaling of attributes, etc.; it's simply amazing, and well worth the visit.

– A.J.

. . . check out GULLIVER. The Remarkable T-Bone has gobs of stuff about swimming and aquatic creatures.

– T.B.

. . . my players and i just revised one of the PCs using your negative encumbrance rules . . . the effects we achieved with GULLIVER were quite a bit more elegant than those i had achieved with the existing rules coupled with a hack of my own.

. . . for anyone who isn't familiar with GULLIVER, i *highly* recommend checking it out if you like fine-noodling and extra details. GULLIVER is to designing monsters, aliens and creatures what "GURPS vehicles" is to designing hover-tanks and tiltrotor attack craft. (so what's the term for that? if vehicle nuts are "gearheads", what are those of us who geek out about the same level of detail for characters and creatures?) anyway, it's all that and a bag of chips. and much, much more . . . it rules.

– A.J.

GULLIVER is Tbone's remarkably good net-supplement for GURPS, initially designed to handle 'off-scale' characters, it has since grown into a full system for gaming (and creating) beings of all sizes and shapes.

– W.G.

I could say it's great, I could say it contains all the house rules I have and could have imagined and much more, I could even say that Metal Gods used it when they made the Universe, but I am sure you are already used to these kind of comments. . . . So I will only say that yesterday night I stayed awake 'till 5 A.M. reading the damned thing (and I am an student in exams). Should be enough. I think that the "G" from GURPS is now completely meaningful and that since PD and AD are separate but still "makeable" rolls the world is a much more beautiful place.

– M.G.

["Metal Gods"? Don't know what that means, but I like it. – T.Bone]

I love version 5.0 . . .

– S.W.

Eine der Schwächen von GURPS ist, dass man nicht gut auf verschiedenen Maßstäben gleichzeitig spielen kann. Wenn der Durchschnitt der Attribute deutlich abseits von 10 liegt, versagen einige der Regeln. Die Gulliver-Regeln sind die Lösung für gemischte Mensch/Fee/Riese-Abenteurergruppen.

– M.G., on GURPS page

It's a great addition to the GURPS sys and really makes the system better, IMO.

– G.

Just wanted to let you know that I appreciate the hard work you put into the Gulliver rules. All in all they are the best supplement I ever seen on the web for GURPS in terms of useful information.

– A.

A truly awesome piece of work. I printed out the last version and spent ages (and a lot of ink!) reading through it.

– J.R.

[The trees! Won't somebody think of the trees? – T.Bone]

i really, really like GULLIVER. i think it's an amazing labor of love (and creativity and mechanics and biology). i like that 90% of the use of GULLIVER is out-of-play, and the other 10% makes in-play more realistic. i adore the fact that it fits smoothly into gurps rules and makes them better, more playable. all the races i've built in the last few years have used rules from GULLIVER. even the plain, boring human characters get to use the encumbrance rules and rules for jumping, running, and climbing.

– D.

One thing you might consider for unusual aliens of any size, shape, and texture are the rules for GURPS Gulliver. They're a very well researched and carefully thought out rules extension / modification that allow more or less total freedom for designing non-standard races, shapes, motivations, sizes, and whatnot.

I've just spent the better part of a week perusing them on the web, and I can't recommend them highly enough. One of the self-promotional lines in the intro is "I've got your Basic Set 4th Edition, right here, baby!!" It's not far wrong.

– D.C.

The BEST GURPS project on the internet. Deals with simplifying some GURPS mechanics, everything you could need about size, and a complete species building guide.

gaming links page

I'd very much like to congratulate you on the brilliant scholarship and creativity of your most excellent GULLIVER rules expansion for GURPS. I've spent long happy hours gasping in awe and "oooh"ing with pleasure as I read through your staggering body of work.

I have found myself, however, sometimes almost queasy with guilt - so much effort has gone into GULLIVER that to benefit from your achievement without me giving something in return seemed like stealing. I thought about sending you a thick, smelly wad of well-used US dollars . . .

– P.J.

[No money necessary! Or at least, make it crisp, non-smelly Benjamins. – T.Bone]

Gulliver is brilliant. 'nuff said.

– R.W.

I have been a gamer and GM for many years. I have always enjoyed the GURPS system, but have felt that in many places, the rules just weren't quite right. I have ammended my system several times to increase both realism and ease of game play. I can really appreciate the amount of work you have invested in GULLIVER and I thank you for making it available to the rest of us schmoes. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

– B.L.

Un menu' che ogni gurpsista dovrebbe provare spesso a digerire... :) Contiene inoltre l'utile ed interessante GURPS Gulliver, una sorta di maxi-house rule che rivede parecchi aspetti del sistema di GURPS... per chi non si accontenta mai!

– Link at

[The magic that is machine translation renders that as: "A menu that every gurpsista would have to often try to digest... It contains moreover the profit and interesting GURPS Gulliver, rising of maxi-house rule that it see again several aspects of the system of GURPS... for who is not never pleased!"]

...In my games, my players and I have been amazed with how the rules in GULLIVER make creatures of nonhuman size and shape feel when you game them.

– W.M.

Witness Gulliver, quite possibly the biggest "not actually an official supplement" website out there... Gulliver is tremendous. In 20 years of role-playing I'd have to say that it is the best and most detailed supplement I've ever seen and something that I'd have quite happily paid £50 for. The fact that is was free is even better.

– S, in online forum


Credits and Acknowledgments

All this didn't come from Your Author's walnut-sized brain alone:


A great many of people have offered help or encouragement. These acknowledgments are without doubt short a few names. Please write if you've been unfairly overlooked!

Review and testing

First, big thanks to Jonathan "Dataweaver" Lang, a veteran GURPS nut who continues to serve players everywhere out there as a caretaker of the gurpsnet list. Despite extensive assistance, review, and creative input for the GULLIVER project, Dataweaver humbly requests no special accolades on this page. From tasty rules tidbits and ideas on overall structure, to expert Vehicles commentary and HTML improvements, there's a lot on this site that he helped bring about. Say thanks by visiting or by email. (Anti-SPAM measure: Remove the name of our favorite game from this address:

Thanks to an old gaming group – Geoff Leigh, K. "Bruce" Abe, Dave D. Trang, Mike Owenson, and Ken Hayashida – for enduring campaign disruptions, half-considered one-shots, and a won't-leave-well-enough-alone GM, all in the name of playtesting. Beyond the call of duty, gentlemen. May the words "I'd like to try a new rule this session..." cause you to wake screaming at night no more.


Some material is adapted from contributions by the following friends on gurpsnet: P. McCurry (ideas for impaling weapon damage limits), D. Weber (ST cost suggestion in Book 1), E. Joinson (reality-checking of jumping distances, leading to v5.3 improvements), T. Barnes (Obvious Trail advantage, Catsleep advantage, Travel Restrictions, various suggestions related to floating creatures), Eric B. Smith (suggestion for piecemeal DR/HP costs), Alex Koponen (HT roll-based shock recovery option), Revenant (thoughts on shapeshifting and many other topics) Craig Roth (long discussions on physical capabilities and thoughts on scaling magic), Keith Horsfield (ideas on race construction and limits on scaled stats), Martin Leuschen (notes on terminal velocity and falling), Anthony Jackson (physics behind throwing and jumping), Mark Wells (suggestions for better Toughness description in v5.3), and Dr Kromm, gurpsnet guru (ideas on... well, just about everything).

A few creature designs are based on the work of others. Mark Nettle is a veteran in underwater campaigning, and offered ideas for underwater play, creature designs, and brainstorming on some physics problems. The Book 7 sea creatures are based on his designs. Meanwhile, the Book 7 dragon designs are modified from original designs by William Knowles.

Add-on toys

Finally, John Wood and Andrew Stoner contributed the HTML frame sets that made GULLIVER v5.x a lot more fun to use; the former set is now online and is part of the download. John also made helpful pre-release comments on LITE.


The following were most helpful in the physics behind GULLIVER, especially the mechanical workings of living things:

Scaling: Why is Animal Size so Important?, Knut Schmidt-Nielsen (James B. Duke Professor of Physiology, Department of Zoology, Duke University), Cambridge University Press, Cambridge UK, 1984.

Life's Devices: The Physical World of Animals and Plants, Steven Vogel (James B. Duke Professor of Biology, Duke University), Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1988.

Cat's Paws and Catapults: Mechanical Worlds of Nature and People, Steven Vogel (James B. Duke Professor of Biology, Duke University), Princeton University Press, Princeton NJ, 1998.

Biology (4th Edition), Helena Curtis, Worth Publishers Inc., New York NY, 1983.

The Ultimate Dinosaur Book, David Lambert, Dorling Kindersley Inc., New York NY, 1993.

And a special nod to the several dozen GURPS books consulted.


Websites too numerous to mention provided information on biology and physics.

Two software products by Yves Pelletier (, YP Projectiles and YP Collisions, helped inject real physics into the rules for jumping, throwing, and collisions.

Special thanks to Apple Computer, Claris, Adobe, Netscape, Trans-Tex Software and others for the rest of the toys behind GULLIVER.

Last but hardly least, big, big thanks to Steve Jackson Games for making the only game system worthy of such obsessive contemplation!

Author, Author!

T. Bone is the lame net name of Your Author, who has been playing GURPS since the first printing of Man To Man (and then there's The Fantasy Trip before that). Like most gamers he's finding less time than ever for the hobby as the years and Real Life march onward, but still manages to indulge. In wanton violation of the Universal Gamers Code, he has no cats.

See T. Bone's GURPS Diner at for more original GURPS stuff, including magic rules, house rules, and conversions.

Playtesting has been aided by Your Author's gaming group, reader feedback, and the gurpsnet crowd. Major playtesting, rules revisions, and brainstorming came from Dataweaver. Please see Credits and Acknowledments above!

GULLIVER rules upgrade for GURPS Copyright 1997-2004 T. Bone, All rights reserved. GURPS is a trademark of Steve Jackson Games, Inc. Copyrighted material appears courtesy of Steve Jackson Games.

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GULLIVER v5.3 (2004.04.12) | Copyright 2004 T.Bone | T.Bone's GURPS Diner