GURPS/DFRPG resource: New Talents

Talents in GURPS are advantages that boost skills and typically offer some additional benefit. Dungeon Fantasy Roleplaying Game (DFRPG) has Talents too (even if that game just calls them “advantages”).

This page will hold any Talents that I’ve created or revised. In addition to the expected information, I note where the Talents have been introduced earlier on other pages. Reading those may offer additional background on the thinking behind these Talents.

This page may be updated with new offerings at any time, so check back now and then.

Edit 2020-07-22: Added talents Underworld Gift and Underworldly for weird tunnel-crawling freaks like pallid troglodytes, eyeless cave lurkers, and delvers.


The Talent show

Assassin’s Gift     5 points/level (GURPS, DFRPG)

Killing comes unnaturally easy to you – just not the straight-up, face-to-face kind of killing. You get +1 per level to the Blowpipe, Fast-Draw (Knife), Garrote, Poisons, and Thrown Weapon (Knife) skills, helping you make deadly strikes from the shadows.

Reaction Bonus: None. This is the sort of “sneaky” talent meant to be used undetected – but the GM is free to award a reaction bonus for any appreciative observer.

Alternative Benefit: +1/level to your attack roll with the Knife skill if used for a true backstab. The GM may extend this bonus to other small (Reach C) weapons, such as a rock or cosh to the head from behind.

Notes: This talent avoids full use of Knife skill; that’s a melee thing. Assassins who aren’t afraid of actual fighting should check out Born Brawler.

Suggested character use: Fantasy thieves only, if you want to further differentiate this profession from other professions in a fantasy game.

First introduced in: The Talented Thief: Stealing the Spotlight in GURPS and DFRPG


Born Brawler     5 points/level     (GURPS, DFRPG)

In-your-face mayhem comes as naturally to you as breathing. You get +1 per level to the Boxing, Brawling, Forced Entry, Knife, and Wrestling skills.

Reaction Bonus: Fellow brawlers, or anyone impressed by groin-kicking and ear-biting.

Alternative Benefit: +1/level to the DX roll to ready a weapon in close combat, to any offensive default DX roll in combat (such as an unskilled punch thrown at DX, not a weapon attack at default skill), and to any roll to execute or spot a dirty trick in combat (a sucker punch, etc.).

Notes: This talent’s intent is to make you a natural at up-close, offensive, simple armed and unarmed combat skills (hence no Karate or Judo). There aren’t many such skills suited to street brawling, though, so the talent complements Brawling and Knife with Boxing and Wrestling. Forced Entry rounds things out, letting you take out your aggression on objects as well.

Feel free to replace Boxing, Wrestling, or both of these with other skills. Shortsword is a possibility, augmenting Knife with really big knives (as well as clubs). Intimidation would also make a great replacement, letting you wither opponents with swagger and verbal brawling. (This change would place Intimidation under two of the new talents, but that’s okay; the combination of Street Survivor and Born Brawler would allow terrifying – and perfectly plausible – levels of Intimidation even without high IQ.)

Finally, if you want to make this a more wildly aggressive talent, replace the Alternative Benefit with “+1/level to hit with any All-Out Attack in close combat”.

Suggested character use: Any dirty fighter.

First introduced in: The Talented Thief: Stealing the Spotlight in GURPS and DFRPG


Born Sneak     5 points/level     (GURPS, DFRPG)

There’s little you love more than skulking, spying, and slipping into and out of places you shouldn’t be. You get +1 per level to the Escape, Lip Reading, Observation, Shadowing, and Stealth skills. You can also take +1 per level on Camouflage skill when concealing yourself (not things or other persons).

Reaction Bonus: None. This is the sort of “sneaky” talent meant to be used undetected – but the GM is free to award a reaction bonus for any appreciative observer.

Alternative Benefit: +1/level in Contests to notice others shadowing and spying on you.

Notes: This talent is a bit of a counterpoint to Devious Devices. That talent helps you do sneaky stuff with things; this talent helps you sneak yourself about. It includes Lip Reading, an oft-ignored skill that puts your spying prowess to good use.

Note that Born Sneak and Devious Devices combine to give you +1/level on all uses of Camouflage skill.

Suggested character use: Fantasy thieves only, if you want to further differentiate this profession from other professions in a fantasy game.

First introduced in: The Talented Thief: Stealing the Spotlight in GURPS and DFRPG


Devious Devices     5 points/level     (GURPS, DFRPG)

You have a genius for deviously manipulating things: picking locks, setting traps, faking valuables, concealing contraband, and more. You get +1 per level to the Counterfeiting, Forgery, Lockpicking, Scrounging, Smuggling, and Traps skills – but in all cases, only when the skill is based on IQ or Per, not DX. You can also take +1 per level on Camouflage skill when hiding things or other persons (not yourself).

Reaction Bonus: None. This is the sort of “sneaky” talent meant to be used undetected – but the GM is free to award a reaction bonus for any appreciative observer.

Alternative Benefit: +1/level to IQ-based “legitimate” skills for crafting, repairing, or building things, whenever you modify an item for some sneaky, nefarious purpose.

Notes: This talent covers a fair number of skills, but only when based on IQ or Per. It’s intended as a counterpart of sorts to High Manual DX, which also covers a good number of skills but only when based on DX.

Note that while this Talent and High Manual DX cover Forgery, Lockpicking, and Traps, they don’t “double dip” on these three skills; rather, the two traits combine to offer +1 per level on all uses of the skills, whether based on IQ, Per, or DX.

Suggested character use: Fantasy thieves only, if you want to further differentiate this profession from other professions in a fantasy game.

First introduced in: The Talented Thief: Stealing the Spotlight in GURPS and DFRPG


Graceful     5 points/level     (GURPS, DFRPG)

You move with an aesthetically pleasing fluidity and elegance. Graceful adds +1 per level to the AcrobaticsDancingPerformance, and Sex Appeal skills – as well as the esoteric skill Light Walk, which demands delicate, deliberate movements.

Reaction Bonus: +1 by admirers of aesthetics when you have a chance to show off your moves.

Alternative Benefit: Graceful can add its bonus to many other skills, but only for the purpose of looking good. For example, the bonus would apply to Skiing or Skating in the artistic portion of a competition, but not to make better time, plow through a tight turn, or avoid a danger.

Suggested character use: Primarily entertainers, but anyone could have this Talent.

First introduced in: Three new talents for GURPS/DFRPG: Graceful, Lithe, and Life of the Party


Green Thumb (revised)     5 points/level     (DFRPG)

This revision of DFRPG‘s Green Thumb trait confers +1 per level to the Esoteric Medicine (Druidic), Herb Lore, Naturalist, Pharmacy, and Theology (Druidic) skills, as well as the Survival skill when used to forage for veggies.

Notes: Reaction bonus is as indicated for the printed version of the trait. The point of this revision is to beef up the skimpy three skills aided by DFRPG‘s Green Thumb, by assuming that Esoteric Medicine (Druidic) and Theology (Druidic) also benefit from an innate understanding of plants and their properties. This brings the trait up to a nice five skills (plus Survival where noted).

Revision could be made to GURPS‘ Green Thumb as well, although that Talent already aids Biology, Farming, and Gardening, three skills not found in DFRPG. To build a comprehensive GURPS Talent, use its existing Green Thumb, add Pharmacy (Herbal), tack on Esoteric Medicine (Druidic) and Theology (Druidic) if you like (assuming they’re meaningful in the game), and consider the Survival bonus for vegetarian foraging. Re-price as appropriate!

Suggested character use: Druids, woodsy elves, wildman tribes, plant beings, fae-tinged folk, and outdoorsy types in general.

First introduced in: Tiny GURPS idea: A better Outdoorsman.


Life of the Party     5 points/level     (GURPS, DFRPG)

In a room full of wallflowers, you’re the fun guy. Take +1 per level to the Carousing, DancingGamblingPerformance, and Singing skills.

Reaction Bonus: Any fellow merry-makers!

Alternative Benefit: Dude! Don’t need one!

Suggested character use: Primarily entertainers, but anyone could have this Talent.

First introduced in: Three new talents for GURPS/DFRPG: Graceful, Lithe, and Life of the Party


Light-Fingered     5 points/level     (GURPS, DFRPG)

Things around you have a tendency to . . . disappear. (A thorough search might find those items on your person, though in the darnedest places.) Your brilliance at secreting objects also helps you ferret out items hidden on others. You get +1 per level to the Filch, Holdout, Pickpocket, Search, and Sleight of Hand skills.

Reaction Bonus: None. This is the sort of “sneaky” talent meant to be used undetected – but the GM is free to award a reaction bonus for any appreciative observer.

Alternative Benefit: +1/level to rolls to avoid being fooled by the same skills.

Notes: The trio Filch, Pickpocket, and Sleight of Hand can surprise newcomers to GURPS, which asks thieves to purchase three skills for capabilities that many game systems would bundle into one skill. (I wouldn’t be surprised to see some games toss the abilities of Holdout into the mix as well.) This talent can ease the considerable cost of excelling in those skills.

Suggested character use: Fantasy thieves only, if you want to further differentiate this profession from other professions in a fantasy game.

First introduced in: The Talented Thief: Stealing the Spotlight in GURPS and DFRPG


Lithe     5 points/level     (GURPS)

This variant of Graceful offers a more subtle mix of abilities, adding +1 per level to the Combat ArtDancingErotic ArtLight Walk, and Stage Combat skills. (Note that Combat Art, Erotic Art, and Stage Combat are not found in DFRPG. Graceful is a better choice in that game.)

Reaction Bonus: +1 by admirers of aesthetics when you have a chance to show off your moves.

Alternative Benefit: Lithe can add its bonus to many other skills, but only for the purpose of looking good. It will add to Acrobatics, Skiing, Skating, etc. in a competition of aesthetic presentation, but not to tumble past a foe, plow through a tight turn, etc. Likewise, it can add to skills like Performance and Sex Appeal if the GM rules that a sexy strut or other lissome movements would appeal. (Have fun describing the action!)

Suggested character use: Primarily entertainers, though a number of unusual types could have this Talent.

First introduced in: Three new talents for GURPS/DFRPG: Graceful, Lithe, and Life of the Party


Natural Impostor     5 points/level     (GURPS, DFRPG)

Just who are you? Those around you may never know, what with your uncanny knack for impersonation and verbal deceit. You get +1 per level to the Acting, Disguise, Fast-Talk, Mimicry, and Ventriloquism skills.

Reaction Bonus: None. This is the sort of “sneaky” talent meant to be used undetected – but the GM is free to award a reaction bonus for any appreciative observer.

Alternative Benefit: +1/level on rolls to avoid being fooled by the same skills.

Notes: This talent includes the little-used Ventriloquism skill, letting you further confuse people as to where you are.

Suggested character use: Fantasy thieves only, if you want to further differentiate this profession from other professions in a fantasy game.

First introduced in: The Talented Thief: Stealing the Spotlight in GURPS and DFRPG


Naturally Nimble     5 points/level     (GURPS, DFRPG)

You can move. You get +1 per level to the Acrobatics, Climbing, Jumping, Running, and Swimming skills.

Reaction Bonus: Anyone who appreciates amazing athleticism.

Alternative Benefit: +1/level to any sports skills, sporting contests, or generic DX rolls that take advantage of your full-body agility.

Notes: Swimming can be of help in infiltrating a dockside warehouse from the water, and in making a quick river getaway when discovered. If you find Swimming an odd man out, though, replace it with Escape as one of your nimble knacks.

Finally, if both the Reaction Bonus and Alternative Benefit feel boring, consider replacing those with yet another Alternative Benefit, available to thieves or other “mobility experts” only: +1/level bonus to your Dodge roll, once per session.

Suggested character use: Larceny aside, one of the classic fantasy thief specialties is mobility: wall scaling, rooftop running, and all-round “dungeon parkour”. This is the talent for such a thief – or any swashbuckler, martial artist, acrobat, or street punk who can really get around.

First introduced in: The Talented Thief: Stealing the Spotlight in GURPS and DFRPG


Outdoorsman (revised)     10 points/level     (GURPS, DFRPG)

This revision of the GURPS/DFRPG Outdoorsman Talent grants +1 per level to the Camouflage, Climbing, Fishing, Hiking, Mimicry (Animal Sounds and Bird Calls), Naturalist, Navigation, Survival, Tracking, and Weather Sense skills.

As an alternative build to bring this Talent closer to the DFRPG version, replace Climbing (an addition of mine) with DFRPG‘s Disguise (Animals).

Notes: Reaction bonus and alternative benefit are as indicated for the printed versions of the Talent. The point of this revision is simply to flesh out this arguably-stingy Talent with a full ten skills. See the full discussion at the link below.

Suggested character use: Barbarians, druids, and scouts, of course, but just about any character could turn up with this trait.

First introduced in: Tiny GURPS idea: A better Outdoorsman.


Street Survivor     5 points/level     (GURPS, DFRPG)

You have an instinct for getting by on the meanest of streets. You get +1 per level to the Detect Lies, Intimidation, Panhandling, Streetwise, and Urban Survival skills.

Reaction Bonus: Street hustlers, bums, ruffians, and anyone who’d be impressed by their ilk.

Alternative Benefit: +1/level to rolls to spot street scams and miscellaneous dangers in urban situations, and to urban Tracking rolls. (This is paraphrased from the Alternative Benefit for Street-Smart and Street Smarts.)

Notes: This talent covers key abilities you need to survive on the streets, both socially and physically. If you’ll be spending lots of time in the darker dark alleys, also consider Born Sneak and Born Brawler.

Suggested character use: Anyone with inborn “urban smarts”.

First introduced in: The Talented Thief: Stealing the Spotlight in GURPS and DFRPG


Underworld Gift     5 points/level     (GURPS)

In the hidden depths, your hidden depths come to the surface. You get +1 per level to the Engineer (Mining), Geology, and Prospecting skills. You also get +1 per level to the Cartography, Navigation (Land), and Survival skills only in a natural underground setting, and Naturalist skill only to identify and deal with native subterranean plants, animals, and other dwellers. (For Survival rolls underground, apply the specialty that best matches the cave, etc.; Desert or Mountain are often appropriate.)

Reaction Bonus: Dwarves, troglodytes, spelunkers, and other Chthonic beings who admire your underground prowess.

Alternative Benefit: +1/level to spot natural underground hazards such as slippery surfaces, pits, and potential rock slides.

Notes: This talent covers more skills than the usual five for a 5-pt. talent, but four of these are restricted in utility.

For a variant that makes use of optional skills from GURPS Underground Adventures, see “An alternate take” below.

For a variant usable with DFRPG, see Underworldly.

Suggested character use: True troglodyte races, dwarves with a natural bent (this is dwarves’ Outdoorsman talent!), and any character unusually drawn to holes in the ground.

First introduced in: This article.

An alternate take: If you use new skill specialties from GURPS Underground Adventures, “subterranean only” Navigation and Survival become Navigation (Underground) and Survival (Underground) skills. Cartography doesn’t get an underground variant in that book, but I think it should, for the same reason that the book suggests a new Navigation specialty: cave mapping calls for measuring and depicting wholly different three-dimensional complexities.

Using all appropriate skills from Underground Adventures and my suggested Cartography specialty, the talent gets expanded as follows:

Underworld Gift (using GURPS Underground Adventures) [10 points per level]: You get +1 per level to the skills Cartography (Underground), Engineer (Mining), Geology, Hidden Lore (Chthonian Lore), Hobby Skill (Rock Collecting), Navigation (Underground), Prospecting, Survival (Underground), and Naturalist (only to identify and deal with native subterranean plants, animals, and other dwellers), as well as any other Hidden Lore or Expert skill dealing with underground phenomena and beings.

A note on defaults: Underground Adventures suggests a cross-default of -2 between Navigation (Land) and Navigation (Underground), and -4 between normal Survival specialties and Survival (Underground). But I like a uniform -3 for all of these cross-defaults: Navigation (Land) and Navigation (Underground), normal Survival specialties and Survival (Underground), and Cartography and Cartography (Underground). It’s much easier to remember (especially as -3 is already the default penalty among Survival specialties).


Underworldly     5 points/level     (DFRPG)

Mile-deep caverns, dank tunnels, and pitch-dark warrens? Ah, home. You get +1 per level to the Prospecting skill. You also get +1 per level to the Cartography, Navigation, and Survival skills only in a natural underground setting, and Naturalist skill only to identify and deal with native subterranean plants, animals, and other dwellers. (For Survival rolls underground, apply the specialty that best matches the cave, etc.; Desert or Mountain are often appropriate.) In addition, you get +1 per level to the Hidden Lore (Lost Civilizations) and Hidden Lore (Nature Spirits) skills, to answer questions about subterranean civilizations and spirits only.

Reaction Bonus: Dwarves, troglodytes, spelunkers, and other Chthonic beings who admire your underground prowess.

Alternative Benefit: +1/level to spot natural underground hazards such as slippery surfaces, pits, and potential rock slides.

Notes: This talent covers more skills than the usual five for a 5-pt. talent, but most are restricted in utility.

For a variant tailored to GURPS, see Underworld Gift.

Suggested character use: True troglodyte races, dwarves with a natural bent (this is dwarves’ Outdoorsman advantage!), and any character unusually drawn to holes in the ground.

First introduced in: This article.

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