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

Book 1: Size Matters

Sizing Up Creatures in GURPS


Plenty of odd-sized creatures appear in GURPS' books of beasts and races. Everyone knows how to design these: high ST and HP for big creatures, low stats for small ones. Combat considerations may call for on-the-spot decisions, but that's what a GM is for. And let's face it, almost all game characters are roughly human-sized anyway. No special supplements are needed to build and play odd-sized creatures.

So what's this Book for? Say you do want to introduce a lot of big and small non-humans, with game stats and body weight determined in a consistent manner. Or you're wondering just what sort of PC sizes are possible -- can a one-inch humanoid really exist? How about a 30-foot humanoid? Just how should game stats -- as well as real-life characteristics like weight and lifting power -- scale with size?

GURPS has never properly addressed these questions. Fortunately, it's capable of doing so quite nicely:

Scaling: The Importance of Size

Towering giants. Inch-tall humans. Impossible, right? The laws of physics just won't allow it. Impossible.

Or is it?

The range of size found in living things is astounding. In land mammals alone, size runs from 5-gram shrews to 5-ton elephants, a million-fold difference in weight. The prehistoric baluchitherium stood 5 meters at the shoulder and weighed about 30 tons! Microbes and trees extend the range much farther in either direction, and creatures turn up in fiction that are even bigger (and smaller?).

So if a shrew can be an inch long, and if an elephant can have the mass of a truck, why couldn't mankind exist in these sizes? It might not be impossible. Just picture a mammal the size of a mouse or a pachyderm, which happens to have the shape of a human.

But big and small creatures are not just different-sized versions of each other. Physical laws and properties of materials dictate big differences in the way elephants and shrews behave and survive. A tiny man would operate very differently from us; in this sense, an inch-tall "human" is impossible. At least in "reality".

What Size Changes

If you multiply an object's size by a given amount in each dimension, its surface area will multiply by the square of that amount, and its mass (and volume) by the cube of that amount. Double each dimension of an object and its surface area will increase fourfold, its mass eight-fold. Halve each dimension, and surface area shrinks to one-fourth, mass to one-eighth.

This feature, sometimes referred to as the cube-square law, means that as an object "scales up" in all dimensions, its volume (and mass) increases twice as fast as its surface area, four times as fast as its length.

This holds true for any object, whether cube or porpoise. The ratio of creature (volume) to exposure to the environment (surface area) changes greatly with size – to paraphrase biologists, the rhino has a lot of inside to its outside, an insect a lot of outside to its inside. These creatures face vastly different strategies in eliminating waste, keeping in body heat, taking in food, oxygen and water, and otherwise interacting with the environment. (You normally won't be concerned about those factors in play, but they can have interesting game effects. See notes in the Appendix.)

Strength and size

For game purposes, it's the effect of size on strength and weight that's most interesting. The strength of a living muscle is a function of its surface area – specifically, cross-section area – and not its volume. A large muscle with all three dimensions twice that of a smaller muscle will have eight times the volume and weight, but any two-dimensional slice of that muscle will have only four times the surface area of the smaller muscle's slice.

People often call insects "incredibly strong for their size", which isn't too meaningful. Strength is measured as ability to move weights; size, when used to mean length or height, is measured in feet or meters. They're incompatible measures, and there is no high or low strength for any given body length.

The only meaningful comparison we can make is strength vs body weight: it'd be correct to say that insects are wonderfully strong for their weight – or most accurately, say that insects are amazing light for their strength. There's no special power involved; we'd be incredibly light too if we were ant-sized, able to lift many times our own tiny, tiny weights.

The limits on size

How big can a creature be? Nobody knows the limit, but plenty of things work to keep Godzilla from rising out of Tokyo Bay. There are questions of transport (getting oxygen and nutrients to all of that mass). More importantly, mass balloons out of proportion to strength; just like the spoilsport scientists say, King Kong shouldn't be able to support his own weight. (The problem's not just muscle, either; the load capacity of bone scales in the same manner. A creature needs thicker and thicker bones to support weight as it gets larger, yet a Giant can't be all skeleton!)

Strength vs mass is an important difference between the worlds of large and small creatures, and Book 2's natural encumbrance rules add this very realistic dimension to the physical capabilities of your designs. You'll still be able to get your dinosaur designs moving (though somewhat ponderously), and you can shoot for unbelievable sizes in designs that lurk underwater, dwell on low-gravity worlds, or sport fantastic augmentations (magic-powered muscles, hydrogen sacs, antigravity organs and so on).

And even Godzilla and King Kong stroll about quite nicely in the movies, where whiny scientists are ignored. That works for roleplaying games too. If you don't want to worry about the weight problem, then just don't. Design creatures as large as you like for a night of fantasy adventure or atomic horror.

While we're at it, what's the limit at the lower range? None in a cinematic loose-science setting: Asimov's Fantastic Voyage offered cell-sized scientists who listened to the Brownian motion rattle of molecules striking their minuscule submarine's walls. At such sizes, inertia and gravity have practically no meaning; surface area and drag become everything.

In a hard-science game, minimum size becomes philosophical. You could theoretically create tiny beings with human shapes – but with the differences from us in the way they'd operate, whether they're still "human" is your call.

Size and game designs

Some implications of size – ones potentially relevant for game purposes – are summarized below, with little technical explanation. You can safely ignore these in fantastic campaigns (as most fiction does); for "hard" realism take the below into account when designing and gaming creatures:

  1. Lifting power scales with the square of linear dimension, so that a muscle doubled in dimensions has four times the lifting power. This is covered in the rules below.
  2. Mass scales with the cube of linear dimension, so that a doubling of all dimensions increases weight eight-fold. This is covered in the rules below.
  3. From the above, larger creatures tend to have high body mass-to-strength ratios; smaller creatures tend to have low mass for their strength. Effects are detailed in Book 2.
  4. Because of the thicker bones and heavier muscles necessary to bear weight, large land creatures will often have a bulky, "blocky" shape. These modifications improve load-bearing ability but may decrease DX; details are in the rules below.
  5. Small creatures have small brains, which may place limits on IQ. This is addressed below.
  6. A creature's surface area-to-mass ratio scales with the inverse of linear dimension. This is a crucial factor in a wide range of life functions, such as the rate of metabolism and rate of body heat loss. Book 6 adds detail.

Odd-Sized Characters

For a creature of unusual size, Book 1 suggests appropriate modifications to weight, ST, HP, and other stats. But there are no "correct" ST or HP stats for a given size, especially in fantastic or superpowered designs. You can use the suggestions for realistic designs, or ignore them for fantastic beings. However you choose to build the design, you buy its final stats in the usual GURPS way.

Book 1 adds one new twist to creature design: a specific size can be bought like any advantage. This wraps up various special effects – combat "to hit" modifiers, default life support requirements, realistic Move and Reach adjustments, and miscellaneous effects – into a one-stop purchase. It's much easier than digging through rule books.

Building size into a design is simple:

  1. Decide on the size.
  2. Decide on stats. Tack on whatever stats sound right, or envision stats for a human-sized version of your design and "scale" them as outlined below.
  3. Add in other factors (modified Reach and Move, etc.) using either various GURPS traits or GULLIVER's one-shot Size advantage. Add Inconvenient Size as appropriate.
  4. Pay for the final design, using regular GURPS point costs.

Scale Table

Below is a tool to make the above easy: GURPS' Size and Speed/Range Table. With a little added info, it's useful for character creation as well as its original combat resolution purposes. GULLIVER renames this expanded Table the Scale Table:

Scale Table



Linear Dimension

Linear Scale

Area Scale

Volume Scale



3 miles (4.5 km)






2 miles (3 km)






1.5 miles (2 km)






1 mile (1.5 km)






1000 yds (1 km)






700 yds (700 m)






500 yds (450 m)






300 yds (300 m)






200 yds (200 m)






150 yds (150 m)






100 yds (100 m)






70 yds (70 m)






50 yds (45 m)






30 yds (30 m)






20 yds (20 m)






15 yds (15 m)






10 yds (10 m)






7 yds (7 m)






4.5 yds (4.5 m)






3 yds (3 m)






2 yds (2 m)






1.5 yds (1.5 m)






1 yd (1 m)






2 ft (70 cm)






1.5 ft (45 cm)






1 ft (30 cm)






8 in (20 cm)






5 in (15 cm)






3 in (10 cm)






2 in (7 cm)






1.5 in (4.5 cm)






1 in (3 cm)






2/3 in (2 cm)






1/2 in (1.5 cm)






1/3 in (1 cm)






1/5 in (7 mm)






1/7 in (4.5 mm)






1/10 in (3 mm)






1/15 in (2 mm)






1/20 in (1.5 mm)






1/30 in (1 mm)






1/50 in (0.7 mm)




"K" = thousand, "M" = million (=1000K), "G" = billion (=1000M), "yd" = yard, "km" = kilometer, "m" = meter, "cm" = centimeter, "mm" = millimeter.

Additional progressions for the Table should be obvious.

Here's how each column of the Table relates to character design:

Notes on numbers

Progression: The Scale Table revises the Size and Speed/Range Table's numbers in places, especially in the 3" to 12" size range, to maintain a steadier progression. This progression replaces the Size and Speed/Range Table's for all purposes.

Rounding: The Table rounds for ease of use and to accomodate the Imperial measurement system. Treat all measures as approximations: Linear Dimension of 4.5 yards really equates to Linear Scale of x2.25, not x2, which better meshes with Area Scale x5. It's close enough for game purposes, but you can use precisely-scaled numbers if you prefer.

Metric measurements: The Table's metric approximations "progress" more neatly than their Imperial cousins, and the two depart considerably at the lower ranges. The Imperial numbers are closer to reality for the human norm and are the basis for GULLIVER's examples, but either can be used.

Character Size

A character's size is his size, whether that's measured in yards or inches or miles. For design purposes, though, it helps to use labels from the Scale Table. A 4.5-yard-tall alien with a Linear Scale of x2 could labeled as such, or labeled by his TH modifier: Size +2. He's two Size levels above the norm.

Size +2 also means Area Scale x5. However, there's no need to refer to the alien's physical power as "Area Scale x5"; it's simply ST 50 or 70 or whatever it happens to be.

What Size is my character?

That's easy for a humanoid: How tall is it? Most human adults, even short ones, are Size 0 (though two yards is rounding up for most). Children may be Size -1 or smaller.

Take Size from the closest Linear Dimension. (Have those slouched races stand up straight for measurement!) A twelve-foot Giant would be Size +2, and a one-foot Leprechaun Size -5. An 8-foot Ogre could be built on Size 0 or Size +1, as you decide. (Yes, he's in between, but you've still got to pick a Size for the purpose of his TH modifier, either 0 or +1.)

Estimating Size for a dragon, fish or slime blob can be a little trickier. See notes in the Appendix.

You can now build your character using numbers taken right from the Scale table, or on more exact numbers. The examples below demonstrate both methods:

Example 1: You're designing Wind Elves, watchful denizens of craggy mountain peaks. The Elves are only two feet tall and ride astride great eagles.

Two feet tall is Size -3; Linear Scale is x1/3, Area Scale x1/10, and Volume Scale x1/30. At roughly one-third human height, the Elves are likely to have one-tenth the measurable strength and one-thirtieth the weight, all else being equal.

Example 2: Grunt the Giant is 11 or so feet tall. That's Size +2, and the Scale Table suggests Linear Scale x2, Area Scale x5, and Volume Scale x10.

But 4.5 yards is pretty darn tall, and Grunt just isn't that huge. Say you prefer to stray from the Table and use more exact numbers. If Grunt is roughly twice human height, we can go with Linear Scale x2, Area Scale x4, and Volume Scale x8, the classic "twice as big" dimensions.

Character Stats

You've set the design's Size. Now you can toss in some ST, HP, DR and other stats that sound good. But the most consistent way to set stats is through scaling: set stats appropriate for a human-sized version of the creature, then scale those up or down for size.

Scaling and GURPS

Muscle force scales with the square of linear dimension, which is represented by Area Scale. So to scale a design's ST, we just multiply human-scale ST by the design's Area Scale, right?

Yes – and no. The math is right, but does it play well?

Scaling of ST runs into some problems specific to GURPS, leaving a question of how to best scale ST and abstract "power stats" like HP and DR. GURPS itself offers no suggestions; its published designs for odd-sized creatures tend to have very unrealistic ST scores in terms of lifting and carrying ability.

GULLIVER chooses a "split ST" solution, which divides ST into two parts: Combat ST, used to determine damage, and Load ST, measurable lifting and carrying ability. That adds a split score to the game, but it plays cleanly. The method allows realistic lifting/carrying abilities together with ST-based damage (and point costs) that mesh with standard GURPS. (GULLIVER also removes the added complexity of GURPS' "Natural ST" limitation.)

GULLIVER scales HP and DR in the same manner as Combat ST. Move and Reach scale logically. IQ, DX, and HT don't scale with size, though certain size-related physiological factors may affect them.

That's an overview of how GULLIVER handles scaling. You'll find a detailed "under the hood" look at the theory and practice of scaling game stats, the pros and cons of several methods, and the reasons for the split ST stat in the Appendix.

On to those stats:


ST is the stat most certain to change with size. Here's how to set it:

Build and base ST: Imagine ST for a human-sized version of your design. This "base ST" should relate to general build: base ST 8 for a scrawny physique, ST 12 for an athletic one, ST 14 and up for a particularly muscular body.

Giants and Ogres are usually portrayed as rippling with muscle, suggesting a base ST of 15 or more. And a real Giant would have to be "ripped" to move anything like we do – a man 20 feet tall with a flabby build would collapse under his own weight!

Size and base ST: As a loose rule of thumb for humanoids, add at least +1 to base ST for each Size level over human size. Give a Size +4 Giant at least the build of a ST 14 human, before scaling that ST up for size. (You'll be glad you did this if you use Book 2's rules later.)

You can keep the bonus lower for animals, as proportion of muscle to total body weight doesn't seem to increase greatly with body size. A little extra base ST helps the big ones move, but thicker bones and other frame modifications are more important for carrying large amounts of weight. See Book 2 for details.

Large creatures living underwater or on low-gravity worlds can get by with low base ST. Small beings may also have a very low base ST. However, there's nothing in particular to stop a small creature from having a blocky, hefty build: a tortoise is small but plenty chunky.

Muscle composition and base ST: Composition of muscle (or its equivalent in demons, blobs, etc.) is also important. Higher vertebrates all have very similar muscle composition and contraction strength per unit of muscle cross-section area; so do most invertebrates. No modification for composition is needed for most animal designs, whether mouse or elephant.

But sci-fi and fantasy creatures may have muscle that's pound-for-pound stronger than ours. Multiply base ST to fit: x1.5 for dense alien tissue, say, or x3 for a wee magical race that's amazingly powerful for its size. (Fantasy games often design small races this way.)

Scaling ST: Take base ST and scale as follows:

Use Combat ST in the normal way to find damage, and use Load ST to compute encumbrance or lift weights. (Or see the Appendix for plenty of other ways to handle ST.)

Combat ST is an abstract stat forming the base for "game effects" like damage and point cost; Load ST is a concrete measure of power applicable to real-world tasks. Combat ST scales with size in a way that's good for game play, and Load ST scales with size in the way nature mandates.

Example 1: Your Wind Elves have only a slight ST 8 build, but they're one of those "wee folk" races with unusually high strength from magic. You tack on another 50%, for base ST 12.

With Linear Scale x1/3 and Area Scale x1/10, that base ST 12 gives Combat ST 4 and Load ST 1.2. Tweak further if you wish, but the numbers look fine for now.

Example 2: Grunt isn't quite Mr Giant Universe material. He has the respectable build of a ST 13 human, not so hot for a Giant. His muscles are made of the same stuff as ours, so there are no adjustments for composition or magic.

Linear Scale x2 and Area Scale x4 raise base ST 13 to Combat ST 26 and Load ST 52. (Remember, we're scaling things exactly for a "double-sized" Giant, not taking numbers from the Scale Table.) Tweak the final numbers further if desired.


DX falls between 8 and 13 for most designs. The stat doesn't scale with size; any DX is possible in theory for a creature of any size. But if a large design has a "blocky" skeleton, or a slow metabolism, set DX lower than that of a slender-boned, high-metabolism small creature. The extra length that nerve impulses must travel in large creatures also works against dinosaur-sized swashbucklers.

A very loose rule of thumb: +1 DX for every two Size levels below human (max +5), -1 DX for every two Size levels above. That helps simulate the agility of small beasts and the slowness of large ones.

The real difference in agility, though, comes not from bone size or nerve length, but from the vastly different ratios of power to weight in large and small creatures. If you plan to use Book 2, keep the DX penalty adjustments more modest (say, half what the above rule of thumb suggests) and let the natural encumbrance rules take care of the rest.

Example 1: The Wind Elves may be odd, but they have that famed Elven quickness: DX 11 for starters. Their slender builds and small size suggest even more DX. But as you also plan to use the natural encumbrance rules, they'll end up with impressive quickness even without more DX... Still, they're certainly no match for most foes in the power department, so let's add one more point of DX to help them out. Racial average is 12.

Example 2: Grunt has normal reflexes, or DX 10. You could drop his DX for his size – even with the same muscular build as a ST 13 human, his bones are going to be relatively thicker and blockier. But heck, it's a cinematic fantasy game; let's ignore technicalities and let him keep his DX 10. Adding the natural encumbrance rules later will likely slow Grunt down anyway.


IQ doesn't "scale", but there must be some limitation to intelligence imposed by a tiny brain. If intelligence has a strong correlation with brain volume, then the little guys are in real trouble; if surface area is the more important factor, then IQ loss won't be quite as drastic.

Either way, the question is: "Do I have enough neurons for a functioning, intelligent brain?" With no bug-sized humans around to submit to SAT tests, and in the interests of a fun campaign, assume that a tiny humanoid is capable of normal IQ. A party of cunning microhumans might survive to the next day; the Three Mini Stooges would be owl-bait in minutes.

How about the big brains of large humans? Would Grunt be the next Einstein if only he hadn't eaten his textbooks? Not necessarily, thanks to transport problems. Assuming humanlike physiology, Grunt's brain has eight times human volume, but the capillaries that feed it have only four times human surface area. A human suddenly scaled way up in size should instantly suffer a stroke! We have to assume that Grunt's noggin, or any functional brain at a large size, uses a design different from ours – and that means all bets are off as to final IQ.

Example 1: Small or not, we'll assume the Wind Elves are not only intelligent but downright clever: IQ 11.

Example 2: Grunt is dumb as a clay pot: IQ 7. So it goes with Giants and their ilk.


Animals will tend to have good HT scores – they'd have to, in order to survive in their world of predators, harsh elements, and a shocking lack of cold medicines – but GURPS probably exaggerates stats for a few of the big animals. HT 17 is high for any creature, even hardy oxen and elephants. HT scores of 11 to 13 seem a good range for wild animals, pushing up to 15 for the real survivors.

Hit Points are another matter: they should scale with size. Don't make the mistake of giving a big creature a high HT score when what you really want are high Hit Points!

Example 1: The Wind Elves have normal health: HT 10.

Example 2: Grunt is pretty sturdy and fit: HT 12.

HP and DR

Base HP equals HT (or, using one popular unofficial option, equals base ST). Adjust up or down as desired, to represent innate sturdiness or fragility, diffused organs, magical life-force, etc.

Base DR for designs is whatever you say it is. Imagine what DR would be for a human-sized version of the creature, even if only a fraction of a point (that fraction may become meaningful if DR is scaled up for size). Scaly or very thick-skinned creatures may have a full point of DR or two; creatures with more moderate skin might have a tenth of a point of DR, a quarter-point with light fur, a half-point with a slightly leathery hide, and so on.

Now take your base HP and base DR, and multiply them by Linear Scale, just as with Combat ST.

Example 1: The Elves have a slight build, suggesting some Reduced Hit Points – but then again, they've also got that magical force that infuses their muscles with unusual strength. What the heck, let's leave base HP where it is, equal to HT. That's base HP 10.

Elves don't normally have unusual hides, but the Wind Elves could sure use some protection against the cold and winds. Fur fits the bill – DR 1, maybe?

Time to scale those. HP 10 x 1/3 is HP 3.3; DR 1 x 1/3 is DR 0.33. Hold on to those fractional stats for a moment.

Example 2: You tack a couple more HP on to Grunt's base HP 12; he's made of something tough (or is just too dumb to know he's hurt). He starts with base HP 14.

A human-sized Grunt might have DR 1; he's got the leathery skin of a battle-scarred fighter.

Scale those up now. Grunt's HP 14 and DR 1 are boosted by Linear Scale x2 to HP 28 and DR 2. You can tweak those numbers as you like, but they look fine.

Advanced rules: For realism, decrease base HP for large creatures: the structural integrity of bone and other materials is poorer at large sizes. As a rule of thumb, try -1 base HP per two levels of Size over human, down to half base HP.

To be even more strict, make half of that reduction in HT itself, not just HP! This simulates the additional difficulty of facilitating nutrient transport, waste removal, immune response, etc. in such a large form.

The result after scaling will still be high HP for large creatures, but a relative fragility as well. Whether you want to likewise add base HP to small designs is up to you; it certainly will help them survive the night's combat session.

Fractional stats

Scaled-down ST and HP for small creatures may be fractions. What to do with these? If there's no reason to be precise, go ahead and round these to integers.

Then again, it is possible to deal with fractional ST or HP stats – although not DX or IQ, which would have no meaning as fractions. In particular, a fractional Load ST is as valid as an integer figure. Rounding to the nearest integer makes things easy, but rounding a two-inch human's Combat ST 0.3, HP 0.3, and Load ST 0.01 all the way up to a neat ST 1 and HP 1 is a big change in character concept.

The fractional stats may look scary but are perfectly useable. Damage for ST 0.3 is somewhere below the damage for ST 1. Maximum lift is Load ST 0.01 x 25 lbs., or 0.25 lbs. A wound of 1 HP brings the HP 0.3 microhuman to just past the -2 x HP damage mark (a life-threatening injury). And so on.

Example: What to do about your Wind Elves' fractional stats is up to you. If there'll be many small-sized NPCs running around, then fractions have meaning. But if most characters will be human-sized, you may want to round the numbers to something easier.

Combat ST 4 is fine. Load ST 1.2 has that nasty decimal, but it's actually simple to use; let's give it a try. HP 3.3 is also useable, but not much fun. Give the Elves a break and round that up to HP 4.

DR 0.33 can also be used, though hardly comfortably. You decide to change your original concept and drop the DR instead of rounding up. In other words, that fur offers some protection against cold, but isn't thick enough to act as effective armor.

Character Weight

If you're putting a real-life creature into game terms, use its actual weight or a good guess. You can also guess at weight for a human-sized version of your design and scale it.

Human-sized weight

GURPS has a chart for setting human weight from base ST. Alternately, use base ST x 15 lbs. as weight, especially for a non-humanoid design. Use only base ST from build; additional base ST from magic or "alien composition" doesn't affect weight unless you say it does.

Add more pounds for features like extra limbs, wings, armored skin, etc., or subtract some weight for magical lightness, missing limbs, etc. Weight varies considerably among individuals, given differences in exact heights, proportions, and body fat, so approximations are fine.

Scaling weight

Once you've got a weight for the human-sized version of your design, multiply it by the cube of Linear Scale, i.e., by Volume Scale. Adjust the result as you like.

Example 1: How much would a Wind Elf weigh were it human-sized? You decide that the extra ST from magic doesn't add weight, and would like to base weight on their slim base ST 8 build. The Basic Set suggests 140 lbs. for ST 8, but these guys should be even more slender. You go with 130 lbs.

Volume Scale is x1/30, leaving 4.3 lbs. That's fine, but you choose to round to a neat 5 lbs. Maybe the magical strength does boost weight a little, or the Elves are on the tall side of Size -3.

Example 2: Grunt's not slender; that ST 13 build suggests 165 lbs. at human height, from the Basic Set. You call it an even 170 lbs.

Multiply 170 lbs. by x8, for 1360 lbs. Good enough, unless you say otherwise.

Move, Reach, and Miscellaneous

Size also affects Move, Reach, sustenance requirements, and combat, as follows:


Default: Move defaults to (HT+DX)/4 for a human-sized design. Add Enhanced or Reduced Move as appropriate for features such as multiple legs, an exceptional running physique, etc. The result is your base Move.

Effect of Size: Given proportionately similar strides with an unchanged stride frequency, a doubling of size will double speed of movement, a tripling will triple speed, etc.:

Multiply base Move by Linear Scale.

This adjustment for Size affects all bodily forms of movement: running, swimming, climbing, flight, you name it. It does not affect Dodge or the game stat Speed in any way!

Further modifications: Linear Scale is only one side of the effect on Move: Size also affects the mass-to-power ratio, which affects proportionate stride length, frequency, or both. The above multiplication is made to work together with Book 2's natural encumbrance rules, which slow down the big creatures and speed up the small ones.

If you're not using Book 2, the above multiplication will overstate the effects of size on Move. See notes in the Appendix for a simple fix.


Default: Reach defaults to one hex for a human-sized design; use Long Arms or Short Arms from CI p. 54 or Book 3 to modify this.

Effect of Size: A doubling of size (including limb length) will double Reach, a quartering of size will quarter Reach, etc.:

Multiply Reach by Linear Scale.

Sustenance requirements

Default: Food, water and air requirements default to human levels. Modify as appropriate for physiology and circumstance, using Increased and Decreased Life Support, etc.

Effect of Size: There's no "correct" way to adjust for Size, but below is a good approximation for game purposes:

Multiply default sustenance requirements by Area Scale.

Advanced rule: Book 6 offers a more detailed calculation.

Combat effects

Effect of Size: Size directly modifies TH in combat, in addition to other potential effects. A small character is not only hard to hit but finds his opponent a big, easy target. But as outlined in Book 5, the bonus to strike a large target has limits, and beyond a certain point large size helps you whack a small critter.


No one knows how size might affect senses. Below are ideas a GM can add as no-cost special effects:

Sight: It's possible that scaled-down eyes would suffer Nearsightedness. Add Bad Sight to small creatures as you like. Or, if you want to make poor vision an automatic effect of size, try this:

Reduce maximum distance for reading (or otherwise making out small detail) for creatures smaller than human. Multiply by the square root of Linear Scale. If a human can read a given sign at 60 yards, a Size -9 PC can do so at up to only 10 yards.

The actual nearsightedness disadvantage makes things proportionately worse: the book a nearsighted human reads at a foot away is illegible to the above PC at greater than 2" away!

Book 3 allows unusual eye sizes; let those change effective Size for use with this rule. Your tiny PC might find he sees better with big, endearing eyes.

Hearing and voice: We can only guess at whether tiny ears hear differently from ours. But the volume of a PC's yell should scale with size in some manner. And as sound frequency varies inversely with the length of the vibrating agent, Giants should have deep, rumbling voices, and tiny creatures high, squeaky voices. You're encouraged to ignore this last effect in small PCs, though; you'll never get a serious game out of players otherwise!


GULLIVER and GURPS suggest many other miscellaneous effects of an odd size. Large size carries some particularly powerful pluses, including good combat Reaction rolls and a very large Intimidation bonus.

Cost of Size

Points costs below are for PCs only; if it's not a PC, cost doesn't matter.

Paying for the effects of size is easy. Final ST, HP, DR, and other stats are bought individually. Final weight has no cost of its own. Size-based adjustments to Move, Reach, and several miscellaneous factors are combined into a one-shot purchase called the Size trait. Finally, Inconvenient Size may count as a disadvantage.

Cost of Stats

Once you've set ST, HP, and so on, buy those stats using normal GURPS rules. (Adventuresome types can devise original pricing schemes for high stats, or use options in the Appendix.)

Pay only for final stats. "Base" stats were only tools for arriving at final stats; you can throw them away now. However, it's interesting to jot them down on the character form like this: "Combat ST and Load ST come from base ST 8 for a skinny build, plus 25% for alien muscle structure, scaled up for Size +1." These make for revealing notes on the character's build and physiology.

Cost of ST

Buy Combat ST using normal GURPS costs.

If Load ST differs from this, buy it further up or down at 50% cost. Charge normally for Combat ST, and half as much for Load ST beyond that. (That's the same as taking normal costs for the two ST scores and averaging them.)

For high ST scores, don't forget GURPS' cheaper Enhanced ST costs. (The cost of ST has always been a sore and oft-revised spot for GURPS; see the end of the Appendix for a new suggestion for ST costs.)

If the character has No Fine Manipulators, GURPS suggests a -40% limitation on the cost of ST. Book 3 suggests a more varied limitation, based on the number of points in manipulator-related disadvantages.

Example: Ignore the Elves for a moment and look at Grunt. Combat ST 26 costs 155 points. Going up to ST 52 would cost another 31 points, but it's Load ST, so use 50% of that, or 15.5 points. Total cost: 170.5 points.

Cost of DX, IQ, and HT

Whether or not these were adjusted for size, purchase the final stats normally.

Example: The average Wind Elf pays for DX 12 [20], IQ 11 [10], and HT 10 [0].

Example: Grunt pays for DX 10 [0], IQ 7 [-20], and HT 12 [20].

Cost of HP

GURPS sets HP equal to HT for no point cost; buy further HP above or below that as Extra or Reduced Hit Points.

See the Appendix for notes on optional ways to price HP, including use of the popular "HP=ST" variant.

Example: The Elves' HT 10, HP 4 means Reduced Hit Points -6 [-30].

Example: Grunt's HT 12, HP 28 means Extra Hit Points +16 [80].

Cost of DR

Purchase final DR normally using GURPS costs.

Normal humans are limited to more expensive Toughness by GURPS; whether or not that applies to a humanlike Giant is up to the GM. You can give a jumbo human an appropriately scaled-up level of Toughness instead of just two points, for an appropriate cost. See the Appendix for notes on pricing DR.

Example: You ended up giving the Elves no appreciable DR, but Grunt has a final DR of 2. It's up to the GM whether that's DR or Toughness.

Cost of low stats

It's possible to use fractional ST, HP, and even DR scores. Extrapolate costs: ST 2.5, for example, would cost -65 points, halfway between the costs of ST 2 and ST 3.

Example: What's the cost for the Wind Elves' Combat ST 4 and Load ST 1.2? ST 4 costs -50 points; ST 1.2 would cost one-fifth the way from ST 1 [-80] to ST 2 [-70], or -78 points. Average these and you get a final cost of -64 points.

Example: A Size -4 Fey has average human build, with base ST 10 scaled down to Combat ST 2 and Load ST 0.5. ST 2 is worth -60 points. ST 0.5 has a cost halfway between ST 1 [-80] and ST 0 [presumably -90], or -85 points. So the split ST score costs the average of -60 points and -85 points, or -72.5 points.

If you give the Fey HT 10 and HP 2.5, you can buy that as 7.5 Reduced Hit Points, for -37.5 points. Total cost for the tiny ST and HP: -110 points.

Cost of Remaining Traits

The Size trait

Remaining effects of Size are adjustments to Move and Reach, combat effects, default sustenance requirements, and miscellaneous effects. GULLIVER combines these into a one-shot purchase of Size itself as a trait.

This Size trait does not affect ST, HP, DR, or other attributes; those were already scaled and bought separately. Keeping the cost of stats separate lets you build a magical creature that's tiny but incredibly strong, a creature on a low-gravity world that's huge but surprisingly weak, and so on. (The inconvenience factor of an odd size is also kept separate, as it varies with the game world.)

If you prefer to purchase everything through piecemeal GURPS traits instead, see notes in the Appendix.

The total cost of Size is derived from appropriate costs for its effects. (See the Appendix for a breakdown.) Pay the following:

A large Size is a net advantage costing 10 points per level of Size above 0.

A small Size costs 0 points per level – benefits and shortcomings balance out evenly!

Example 1: The Elves are Size -3. For that they get Move multiplied by x1/3: 5.5 x1/3 = 1.8333. Reach is also one-third human Reach. Size helps the Elves hide from humans, and makes them hard targets in a fight (a good thing, given their lack of power). The Elves' mountain lairs offer little food, but that's okay, they don't need much.

The combat and sustenance advantages balance the Move and Reach penalties; the Elves' small Size has no point cost.

Example 2: Grunt has two levels of large Size. That leaves him with a shocking dinner bill at the tavern, and he's unfortunately a big target should the bouncers extend clubs instead of credit. But with a doubling of Move from 5.5 to 11 and a doubling of Reach to 2 hexes, Grunt should be fine whether he opts to dine'n'dash or to fight his way out.

The advantages more than balance the problems; Grunt's Size costs 20 points.

Inconvenient Size

Inconvenient Size is a final, separate purchase. GULLIVER uses a -5, -10, or -15 point cost, depending on the severity of the disadvantage. This is outlined in Book 3:

Example: If the campaign takes place largely in the Wind Elves' world, they'll get along just fine – no Inconvenient Size. But in the human world with no accommodation for Size -3 people, a -15 Inconvenient Size adjustment works. Everything's far too big for the Elves! Meanwhile, Grunt is only two levels above human size; a -10 disadvantage sounds about right. Expect the poor guy to spend a small fortune on an order-made tux and then smash a few chairs at the prom anyway.

Final Costs and Finishing Up

There's no "correct" final cost for the sample designs we've been building, as there were a lot of options covered along the way (just as in GURPS: buy Toughness or DR? Base HP on HT or ST?).

Here's how costs would look using assuming GULLIVER's split ST score, standard GURPS DR and HP cost (HT base, no special pricing of Extra Hit Points), GULLIVER's Size advantage (with the full Move boost), and Inconvenient Size based on a typical human-centered setting:

Average Wind Elf: Combat ST 4/Load ST 1.2 [-64], DX 12 [20], IQ 11 [10], HT 10 [0], HP 4 [-30], Size -3 [0], Inconvenient Size [-15], total -79 points.

For what it's worth, with Book 2 rules the light, strong Elves will also have a nifty thing called Negative 4 encumbrance, which for 65 points will double their Move and add Dodge and skill bonuses.

Grunt: Combat ST 26/Load ST 52 [170.5], DX 10 [0], IQ 7 [-20], HT 12 [20], HP 28 [80], DR 2 [6], Size +2 [20], Inconvenient Size [-10], total 276.5 points.

That's a big price, but Grunt's a Giant, with impressive combat capabilities and ground speed. Changing the cost of HP or using the HP = ST option will lower the price a lot.

Add Book 2 to the mix, and Grunt loses Move and agility from Heavy encumbrance, for -30 points – an unfortunate consequence of too much weight. See that Book for tips on how nature would modify the Grunt design to lessen this problem.

Notice how there's not a big difference in the cost of Size itself for Grunt and the Elves, as Size brings benefits and problems for each. The real cost differences come from their vastly different ST and HP!

So there you have it: you took basic designs, set stats and weight appropriate for their size, and modified other physical traits for size using either piecemeal adjustments or the Size advantage. You paid for all of that, and added Inconvenient Size as necessary. Now finish up the designs normally: the Wind Elves, for example, need Temperature Tolerance from that fur, as well as gliding ability, some eagle Allies, and so on. (Grunt gets a full write-up in Book 7.)

Check out the rest of GULLIVER Books to get the maximum use from your off-sized designs!


1. Estimating Animal Size

Size isn't always obvious in non-humanoid designs. Even if you're not designing an animal, it's useful to know a beast's Size when the PCs start taking pot shots with their laser rifles.

All the below is obsessive detail; the most important rule for setting an animal's Size is "take a quick guess and move on"!

Try to equate a beast's form with a humanoid form, if possible; that usually means looking at length instead of height, stretched from hind feet to head. Humans are long-legged beasts, but many fellow mammals have similar dimensions, with leg length somewhat less than half of overall length.

Ignore tails when guessing size, as well as long necks and extreme leg lengths; those aren't part of Size for humanoids. Torso size is most important.

If you know the animal's weight, you can use Volume Scale as an aid in guessing Size. A house cat's weight would make it roughly Size -3 were it a cat-sized human – which sounds good enough for a cat-sized cat too. An ox's weight would put it between Size +2 and Size +3 – but since much of that weight comes from a beefy build much heavier than humans', and not Size, round down to Size +2.

Hex sizes

GURPS often gives animal sizes in hexes. A two-yard human is a two-hex creature (when lying down). An Old Adult dragon from Fantasy Bestiary is listed as 12 hexes, suggesting 12 yards in size, or Size +5. However, the hex measurement apparently includes tail and wings and not just length, and the Scale Table's suggested weight for a Size +5 creature is far higher than the given weight. Reduce the beast to Size +4, and go from there.

A rough guide for converting hex size to Size: two hexes is Size -1 to Size +1, three hexes is Size +2, four to ten hexes is Size +3, and eleven to sixteen hexes is Size +4. Beyond that things get pretty fuzzy; take your best guess. Animals listed as one hex are usually smaller than humans: Size -1 or -2. Those listed as <1 hex are Size -3 or smaller.

As with the dragon, drop Size one or two levels if a tail, neck, or snakelike body appears to make up much of the listed hex measurement.

2. All About the Size Trait

One of this Book's biggest suggested changes is the bundling of many size-related effects into a single Size trait. Below are notes on this trait, including a breakdown of how its cost was determined and how to replace it with standard GURPS traits.

Breakdown of Size trait cost

While the cost of the Size trait is based on costs of its components, Size is a unique trait with its own unique, easy-to-use point cost.

Move effects: Size above 0 costs 15 points per level. This looks expensive compared with Enhanced Move and Super Running, but is actually a bargain, covering all modes of movement and not limited to non-combat, straight-line movement.

Size below 0 costs -10 points per level for the first two levels, -5 points per level thereafter. Value diminishes as the effect on Move of additional levels becomes small. Overall the disadvantage value is higher than that of Reduced Move, as Size affects all forms of movement.

Reach effects: Size above 0 costs 10 points per level. This is a bargain relative to GURPS' Increased Reach, which is arguably overpriced.

Size below 0 costs -3 points per level for the first two levels, -1 point per level thereafter. This is tough to price; Short Arms is not a good guide, as the effects are different. Book 5 and 6 suggest ways in which a short Reach does make a difference in combat, so some disadvantage cost is warranted.

Combat effects: GURPS offers no suggestions for the cost of TH adjustments. The costs below reflect the powerful but decreasing TH advantage of small Size, and the corresponding disadvantage of large Size.

Size above 0 costs -10 points per level for the first two levels, -5 points per level thereafter.

Size below 0 costs 10 points per level for the first two levels, 5 points per level thereafter.

Sustenance requirements: Size above 0 costs -10 points per level, covering all food, air, and water requirements.

Size below 0 costs 3 points per level for the first two levels, 1 point per level thereafter. This roughly mirrors the GURPS cost of Decreased Life Support, spread out over several levels.

Miscellaneous effects: Minor miscellaneous effects of odd size include the good and the bad, balancing to 0 points. But some benefits of large size are particularly noticeable, including bonuses on combat Reaction rolls and Intimidation. Add 5 points each to the first two levels of Size above 0.

Net cost: The net cost of the Size trait totals 0 points per level below 0, and 10 points per level above 0. (Don't forget separate Inconvenient Size.)

Adding size with standard GURPS traits

If you don't like GULLIVER's one-shot Size trait, ignore it and build size into your design piece by piece using standard GURPS traits. Unfortunately, it's a laborious process:

Move effects: Buy enough Enhanced or Reduced Move to multiply Move by Linear Scale. Using Super Running may save points in very large designs.

In any case, a large creature's high Move should work in any situation, not just in non-combat, straight-line movement. Add this as a free effect, or boost the cost of the Move-enhancing advantages by +25% or more.

GURPS requires that you purchase your Enhanced or Reduced Move separately for every affected mode of movement! Don't forget to boost swimming and flying Move too.

Reach effects: For a large creature, buy enough Increased Reach to multiply Reach by Linear Scale. Do this separately for each arm, striker, or kicking leg!

GURPS doesn't give a cost for Increased Reach in kicking legs. Let them use the same reduced cost that strikers use, or 5 points per leg per extra hex of Reach.

Reduced Reach for small creatures is a zero-point effect; GURPS makes no distinction between the Reach of a human and the Reach of a Cidi.

Combat effects: GURPS places no point cost on TH adjustments of big and small creatures.

Sustenance requirements: Add levels of Increased or Decreased Life Support as appropriate. GURPS offers little in the way of suggestions, but CI implies that while several levels of Increased Life Support are possible, you can have only one level of Decreased Life Support.

Miscellaneous effects: Other size-related effects, included skill adjustments, tend to balance out. Call it 0 points for simplicity.

Total cost: Add up the costs of the above adjustments. (Don't forget separate Inconvenient Size.)

Example: Before considering size, default Reach for the Wind Elves is one hex, and default Move is (12+10)/4 = 5.5. They have no special Move or sustenance adjustments.

Example: Grunt's default Reach is also one hex before considering size, and his default Move is (10+12)/4 = 5.5. He has no special Move or sustenance adjustments.

Example 1: You need to cut the Wind Elves' Move down to about one-third; three levels of Reduced Move, each reducing Move by one yard, cut 5.5 down to 2.5 for -15 points. Close enough.

But if you're not planning to use Book 2, cutting Move down to one-third is too harsh, as the Elves should also gain Move from their light weight. Make that only one level of Reduced Move, not three, for -5 points.

Smaller-than-human Reach is not considered in GURPS; don't bother with it. The Elves are -3 to be hit in combat; this is a free effect in GURPS, unless you want to make up some point cost. Finally, add Decreased Life Support.

Example 2: You can double Grunt's Move for 10 points through Enhanced Move. As mentioned earlier, that's a realistic boost if you then lower that Move with the Book 2.

If you don't use those rules, then simulate the Giant's heavier pace by buying a Move adjustment appropriate for a Size +1 creature, not Size +2. A half level of Enhanced Move, for 5 points, does the job. (All that is for one mode only; spend the same amount of points again if Grunt's size should raise swimming speed as well, again if he can also fly, etc.)

Grunt needs an extra hex of Reach in each of two arms, for a total of 20 points. His legs should have doubled Reach too; that's 5 points each if you buy them extra Reach as strikers. His large target size, and other miscellaneous effects, are considered no-cost special effects in GURPS. Last but not least, account for his stomach with a level or two of Increased Life Support.

3. Using Book 1 without Book 2

Multiplying Move by Linear Scale is very realistic when you let Book 2's natural encumbrance rules further adjust Move. But if you're not using Book 2, the rule overstates the effects of size on Move. Fix as follows:

Replace the Linear Scale recommendation with a smaller Move adjustment. For a creature of Size X, adjust movement as Size were half X, rounded favorably. For Size -3, modify Move as per Size -1 (i.e., multiply Move by x2/3). For Size +6, modify Move as per Size +3 (i.e., multiply Move by x3). (It's a sneaky way to get you to adjust Move by roughly the square root of the design's Linear Scale, instead of by Linear Scale.)

Adjust the cost of the Size trait for this revised Move component (cost discussed above). Forget a precise reworking: subtracting a flat 7 points from each level of large Size, and adding 3 points to each level of small Size, is close enough. That leaves Size above or below 0 as an advantage, costing exactly 3 points for any level.

Example 1: Without Book 2 rules, the Elves' Move is too low. Use a higher Move adjustment: half of Size -3 is Size -1, rounding favorably. The Move adjustment for Size -1 is only x2/3, netting them Move 2.67. This is speedy for a 2' creature! Charge 3 points per level of small Size, or 9 points.

Example 2: Grunt's high Move is realistic if he runs with the same fleetness as a human – an unlikely proposition given 1360 lbs. of Giant to haul. If you don't use Book 2 rules to bring that Move back down to earth, fake the effect by boosting Move for only half of Grunt's Size levels. Boost his Move as if he were only Size +1; that adjusts Move by x1.5, netting Move 8.25. The cost of his Size is reduced to only 3 points per level, or 6 points total.

4. Notes on Setting and Pricing Stats

Below are miscellaneous notes on setting and buying stats:

Limits on power stats

GULLIVER only suggests stats for any given size, so set those stats however you like. The only constraint is how "hard" you want the design to be. While Supers and magical beings can get away with pretty much anything, some limits might be good for "natural" creatures.

Appropriate limits on base stats might be racial ST x2, racial HP x1.5, and racial DR x1.5 (and/or Toughness 2). That would place a limit of base ST 20, base HP of HT x1.5, and Toughness 2 for "realistic" humans of odd size, before scaling.

The same limits can work for non-human fantasy or sci-fi races. If you decree Pixies have average base ST 30, base HT 12/14, and base DR 4, then an exceptional individual with up to ST 60, HP of (HT+2) x1.5, and DR 6 before scaling is a reasonable limit.

Unusual backgrounds for unusual stats: Instead of saying no to unusual stats, a GM can apply an Unusual Background cost, encouraging the player to come up with some explanation. This could be some flat cost for each unusually high stat, or a variable one such as doubling any stat cost above the "realistic" limit.

Cheap stats: You may have noticed that a tiny PC among normal-sized PCs will not only get lots of points for small power stats, but buying many multiples of those tiny stats will cost nearly nothing.

Say your really small PC passes over a "realistic" Load ST 0.01 and takes Load ST 0.1 instead ("I'm, uh, tiny but radioactive..."). While a ten-fold boost is a huge difference to you, Load ST 0.1 is still a wormlike score in the big picture. Your cost for an extra 0.09 points of Load ST was almost zilch, but so is the impact of an extra 0.09 points of Load ST in the game. Seems fair enough.

But keep in mind the above suggestions for limits. If it's not a Supers or fantasy game and there's no explanation for your PC having ten times his expected ST, the GM may say no.

Role of odd-sized PCs: Think about the role of an odd-sized character before putting one into the game. Is the PC appropriate, even in a fantasy or sci-fi game? How will society react to foot-high people or giants? What adventure possibilities are shut off (or opened)? Could a PC of very different size fit in, such as a hundred-foot Giant?

That seems too odd to work, and the Giant's point cost would have to be astronomical – but what if the GM has some great plots that would let all of the players participate equally? If that were the case, does there really need to be any extra point cost for the big PC, or any point costs for anybody, period? (Maybe not, in a one-shot adventure; the idea seems too strange for a continuing campaign . . .)

Don't use "Natural ST"

"Natural ST" is a cheaper version of ST from Compendium I that doesn't affect ST-based skill defaults, jumping ability, or "fatigue". This is aimed at fixing several problems with ST in GURPS, including incredible jumping, climbing, and spell-powering ability in Giants.

GULLIVER uses the Natural ST complication nowhere. Rather, it fixes what happen to be inadequate rules for jumping, ST-based skills, and fatigue:

Jumping: Jumping distance should not be a matter of ST alone, but a matter of ST vs mass. GULLIVER fixes this in Book 4, allowing any creature realistic jumping distances with no need for patches.

ST-based skills: Skills should never be based on or default to ST; this only causes problems. Dexterity is ignored while strength is double-counted, once as the skill base and once for its effect on encumbrance level. And skill levels, including defaults, are ridiculously high in large creatures.

Climbing and swimming are not a matter of absolute ST, but again, of ST vs mass. Book 2 fixes this by basing the skills on DX and letting encumbrance handle the ST and power aspect. This lets dexterity, strength, and mass all come into play in a realistic manner, and eliminates problems with skill levels.

Fatigue: This is the only difficult aspect of ST. GURPS players have long complained about troublesome fatigue rules, and in particular the problem of big creatures as living "spell batteries".

Book 6 offers fixes for standard GURPS fatigue rules, as well as a home-brewed fix used by so many players that it's now an option in Compendium I. Whichever fix is used, there's no need for a separate Natural ST complication.

Alternate pricing for HP and DR

Big creatures need big stats, one of the reasons for GURPS' decreasing cost of high ST. GULLIVER suggests similarly decreasing costs for HP and DR:

Extra Hit Points: Cost is 5 points for one Extra Hit Points, 10 points for two, and 2 points each thereafter. Grunt would buy his 16 Extra Hit Points at 10 points for the first two and 28 points for the remaining fourteen, or 38 points total.

DR option: The GM will have to rule when a design can purchase DR and when it's stuck buying the much more expensive Toughness. Yet Toughness is really no better than DR – sometimes it adds to a resistance roll, but only DR will protect against a poisoned needle.

Let the first two points of any design's DR use the same cost as Toughness, and additional points use 3 points per level. This meshes with the decreasing cost of Enhanced ST and the above decreasing cost for Extra Hit Points.

Used with the above alternate pricing for Extra Hit Points, the cost of n points of DR is always higher than that of n Extra Hit Points.

GURPS limits humans to 2 levels of Toughness and no DR. That's fine, but should be scalable for size: a Giant whose flesh is basically human should be allowed to buy an appropriately scaled level of Toughness.

Pricing Toughness and DR the same is fair. Players can choose which to use, though the GM can still set limits on what can be bought.

Both options together: Using these HP and DR cost options together – for any humanoid, alien, monster, or Super – answers the eternal question, "Why do HP cost more than DR?". A low DR is expensive per point, while a high DR is more reasonable per point – but whatever its level, DR always costs more than the same level of Extra Hit points.

This also erases the unfairness of humans having to pay much more than non-humans for their version of DR. Here everybody pays the same high cost for those first two DR (or Toughness); non-humans simply have the option of buying three points and beyond, at an attractive cost.

Using the HP=ST rules variant

This popular rules variant doesn't change the nature of HP in the game; it only changes default HP, and thus the cost of the design's final HP. Let HP default to Combat ST instead of to HT. Final HP above or below that are bought as Extra or Reduced Hit Points.

Example: Wind Elves have HP 4. Using their Combat ST 4 instead of HT as the base for HP, the Elves have no Extra or Reduced Hit Points.

There's a tricky spot in pricing: Under GURPS' Enhanced ST rules, a point of Combat ST at high levels is much cheaper than an Extra Hit Point, letting additional ST act as discount Extra Hit Points. Fix by reducing the value of incremental HP to half the value of incremental Combat ST, for all Combat ST of 24 or higher. At Combat ST 40, for example, an Extra Hit Point would cost only 1/4 point.

The same method works under the standard rules when buying Fatigue up or down from ST.

Example: Using Grunt's Combat ST 26 as the default for his HP 28, he has Extra Hit Points +2. This would normally cost 10 points, but at his ST level, an additional two points of Combat ST would only cost 10 points and include the HP for free! Cut the cost of Extra Hit Points to half that of ST: two Extra Hit Points cost 5 points.

Note on Supers: "HP=ST" works great in most creature designs, but what about a Super with ST 300? Should he have HP 300, or a humanlike HP score? And if he does have a modest HP of 10, does that mean he has 290 Reduced Hit Points worth 1450 points? That looks abusive. Adjust the cost of Extra HP for the cost of ST as above, so he only gets back half the points he paid for ST 300.

But in case you think a human, Super or not, shouldn't start with any exceptional HP level, limit default HP under the HP=ST variant to the lower of Combat ST and (HT times Linear Scale). A Size +2 Giant with HT 12 and Combat ST 26 has default HP 26, while a Size 0 Super with HT 12 and Combat ST 26 has default HP 12.

5. Mass-to-Area Ratio

A dry title for a dry topic. But a creature's ratio of mass to external surface area is an important factor in how it lives, and GULLIVER calls upon this ratio several times to perform some neat tricks of simulation. Those not interested can grab the quick simple rule below, or ignore it all together.

Your Mass-to-Area Ratio is abbreviated MAR. You also have a Weight-to-Area Ratio, or WAR. It's the same thing, substituting weight for mass. WAR is MAR multiplied by local gravity, and if buoyancy is an issue, by ((your density - the density of the surrounding substance) / your density).

These rules don't attempt to measure a creature's surface area or MAR in actual units, a notoriously difficult task. They only measure it in relation to the typical human ratio: say, x3 or x1/10, in relation to a human's x1. And that multiple is a very rough estimate at that, but it's all you need for game purposes.

Small creatures will have a low MAR, big creatures a high MAR. The stat comes in handy for realistically determining terminal velocity in falls (see Book 6), movement limitations from drag (see Book 4), effects of exposure hazards (see Book 6), and even how quickly you can sun yourself on a hot rock (see Book 3). Specific rules may call for the use of MAR, the square root of MAR, or some other derivation.

Simple rule

Your MAR is your Volume Scale / Area Scale – which is more or less your Linear Scale. Just use Linear Scale.

Detailed rule

Compute area in artificial "area units", equal to Area Scale x 150.

MAR = mass in lbs. / area units, or x1 for the average game human.

Advanced rule

As above, but mass itself affects area – the greater mass of a fat or muscular individual increases surface area along with volume. There are no hard rules for adjusting area. For something to work with, try the square root of (mass / (150 lbs. x Volume Scale)) as a multiplier to area units. Area units for a burly man of 250 lbs. are the default 150 x the square root of (250 / 150) = 194. His MAR is 250/194 = 1.28.

Note that adjustments to mass for density do not modify volume or surface area!


Streamlining reduces the surface area of an object of given mass. Reducing limbs and other protrusions and smoothing overall shape will streamline a creature and increase MAR. Adding limbs and other protrusions increases area and decreases MAR. The notes below look at these effects and can be added to the detailed or advanced rules above.

Most creatures are more streamlined in some directions than in others. This will be the headfirst or "forward" direction for many: birds, fish, and nine out of ten Supers surveyed. Humans swim in this streamlined "forward" position, though we run in our less streamlined, full-body "flat" position. The difference isn't something you often need to worry about, but can be interesting when comparing gliding descent vs diving plunge in your carefully designed aerial race.

For any creature, compute base area units from the detailed or advanced rules above, and modify as follows:

Human or generic creature shape: Area units computed so far are for "flat" position. For "forward" position, divide area by 2 or a little more – say, 2.25. (That increases MAR by 2.25 and its square root by 1.5, a convenient number for terminal velocity rules.)

Round or blocky body: Such a body will have relatively small area for its mass. Divide base area units by 1.5 or even 2. The "forward" direction won't change much: use the same area or a small further reduction.

Thin or very streamlined shape: Such a shape will likely have high area in a side or "flat" direction: multiply base area by 1.5 or more, even much more. However, area will be much lower in the "forward" direction: divide base area by 3 or more. Division by 5 is appropriate for a sleek fish.

Limbs: Base units computed so far assume humanlike limbs. Extra limbs should increase both mass and, by a greater percentage, area. As an example, an extra arm might add 10% to mass and 15% to area units.

Likewise, small limbs or no limbs will decrease both mass and area. Reduce the creature's mass appropriately and divide base area by 1.5 or more.

Wings: Wings add a lot to area. A default wing is about as long as you are, with a lot of surface area. Assume default wings each add area equal to 150% base area in the "flat" direction. Two default wings add 300% to (i.e., quadruple) base area and confer +1 (almost +2) to your Size as a front-on target with wings spread wide.

In the "forward" direction, assume a default wing's leading edge adds area equal to only 25% of base area. Two default wings add 50% of base area to your area, with no significant addition to target size.

Wings add mass too: roughly the same as default arms, which they replace in many creatures.

For larger or smaller wings, multiply added area by the appropriate Area Scale for the wings.

Example: Your winged human has a base area of Area Scale x 150 = 150.

In the "falling" direction, her small Size -2 (Area Scale x1/5) wings add only 30% base area each (150% x 1/5), or 60% for two. Compute wing area units as base area x 0.6 = 90. Total area in the direction of downward descent: 150 + 90 = 240.

In the direction of flight, the wings add only 5% base area each (25% x 1/5), or 10% for two. Compute wing area units as base area x 0.10 = 15. As the character flies head-first in this direction, body area itself is base area / about 2.25, or about 67. Total area in the direction of forward flight is 67 + 15 = 83.

Other add-ons: Horns, long fur, a tail, big fins, and so forth will add to both area and mass. Let each such feature increase both by some percentage, as per limbs above. Whether area changes with direction is up to you.

Separate tabs: A detail-freak's dream would be a system that tracked mass and area part-by-part in a creature, with appropriate adjustments for each part's size and dimensions. Total mass and area come from stitching it all together. The above example does this in a simple manner for body area and wing area.

GULLIVER makes no attempts to follow this method on a more complex scale, but those with such a numbers fixation would do well to start by seeking an anatomy expert's advice on the weights of a typical human's limbs, torso, and head, and (if anybody knows the answer) the relative surface area of each.

Limits on streamlining: The smaller you get, the less streamlining has any effect. For a tiny, tiny creature, even air is a thick, viscous fluid. It sticks to us all, but the thin layer of air that barely exists to us is a muffling coat to a flea.

With no attempt at all to delve into real-life calculations, here's a cheap fudge. You can divide any design's area in the streamlined direction by up to (1 + (10 x Linear Scale)), and no more. In other words, you can reduce the effective area of a large bird by quite a bit; you can barely streamline a mite at all.

6. Scaling Stats: Theory and Practice

We know how muscle power "scales" in real life, yet it's not so easy to inject that into the game. Lifting and carrying capability is concrete, measurable, and follows an easy biological rule. But power-related aspects like "damage", as well as Hit Points and DR, are abstract, and their scaling affects game play.

There's no "best way" to tie together real-world lifting ability with abstract game concepts like "damage" and "Hit Points", while playing in a way that pleases everybody. GURPS itself has little to say on the matter.

Below is a rundown of some ways ST, HP, and DR can be scaled for size in GURPS, with the pros and cons of each. Choose one or invent your own. GULLIVER chooses one called "split ST", but don't worry if you prefer another method. There are notes below on converting GULLIVER rules and designs for use with the other scaling methods.

Scaling HP and DR with ST

Before considering how to adjust ST for size, should HP and DR scale in the same manner as ST? This is a game play consideration, with no "real life" answer.

If ability to inflict damage scaled faster than HP and DR, then a fist fight between Giants would be very short-lived, while two Pixies would barely be able to hurt each other in battle. If HP and DR scaled faster than ability to inflict damage, Giant fighters would slug it out longer than equivalent human fighters, while Pixie brawlers would knock each other out quickly.

For simplicity, GULLIVER lets HP and DR scale in the same manner as ST – that is, ST for damage purposes. If size suggests a quadrupling of ST-based damage, then it suggests a quadrupling of HP and DR. This equivalent scaling leaves creatures of all sizes with a relatively similar ability to hurt their fellows.

It's possible that real-life structural integrity of an organism would scale less than ideally, i.e., dropping behind muscle strength as size goes up. That indicates HP and DR scaling more slowly than ST. But if you want to add that level of detail, it's easier to continue with equivalent scaling, and reduce HT (and thus HP) in large creatures, as described earlier.

Which brings this tangent back to the original problem: how should ST scale with size?

Possible ways to scale ST

Below are ways ST can be scaled with size. All assume HP and DR scaling in the same manner as ST (or some aspect of ST).

GULLIVER decides on one method as playing poorly (the "squaring method"), one as unrealistic (the "linear method"), one as imperfect but useable (the "split ST method"), and one as nearly ideal (the "quad ST method"). But the whole of GULLIVER can be adapted for use with either of the bunch:

1. The squaring method (ST scales with Area Scale)

Rule: All aspects of ST scale with the square of changes in linear dimension. Multiply base ST, base HP, and base DR by Area Scale.

Cost of ST: Purchase normally. ST and its cost may be drastically high or low.

Example: Grunt the Giant, with Area Scale x4, ends up with ST 52, HT 12/48, and DR 4. Meanwhile, a two-inch microhuman with less than one-thirtieth our height would have about one-thousandth normal ST, HP, and DR.

Pros: In many ways, this is the ideal method. It's easy: no funny "split" or "quadratic" ST. It's also how GURPS scales ST and HP in robots and vehicles.

Cons: Expect big game play problems. You'll get huge HP and damage stats in big creatures, and horrendous mortality rates among small PCs: "A hit. You're dead." Realistic or not, it's tough on game play.

Using this method: Ignore all references to Combat ST. Use only Load ST stats, for all purposes, and just call it "ST". Rework all scaled HP and DR stats so they scale with Area Scale, not Linear Scale. Be prepared for incredible combat power in your big designs, and a very short existence for small PCs.

2. The linear method (ST scales with Linear Scale)

Rule: All aspects of ST scale with changes in linear dimension. Multiply base ST, base HP, and base DR by Linear Scale.

Cost of ST: Purchase normally.

Example: Grunt ends up with ST 26, HT 12, HP 28, and DR 2. A "wee folk" with one-fourth human height would have one-fourth human ST, HP, and DR.

Pros: This method couldn't be any simpler, and GURPS already tends to scale the stats of big and small creatures in this way, whether by conscious design or not. The method fits in well with existing GURPS designs.

Cons: Real-world lifting ability most definitely does not scale in this manner. Grunt's ST 26 (and typical GURPS ST stats for Giants and other large creatures) is patently unrealistic as a load-bearing ST score; he possibly wouldn't even be able to walk in real life (nor in the game if you use the rules in Book 2).

Using this method: Ignore all references to Load ST. Use only Combat ST stats, for all purposes, and just call it "ST". HP and DR stats in the text, and in most GURPS write-ups, are fine. Don't try to use Book 2 natural encumbrance rules, though; like GURPS, you'll have to ignore weight issues.

3. The split ST method (Combat ST scales with Linear Scale, Load ST with Area Scale)

Rule: Lifting and carrying ability scales with the square of changes in linear dimension, as reality dictates. Non-measurable aspects of ST scale directly with changes in linear dimension.

Multiply base ST by Area Scale to get ST for lifting and carrying purposes ("Load ST"). Multiply base ST by Linear Scale to get ST for damage-related purposes ("Combat ST"). Multiply base HP and DR by Linear Scale.

Cost of ST: Purchase Combat ST normally; purchase Load ST above or below that at half cost.

Example: Grunt the Giant has four times equivalent human Load ST for lifting and carrying purposes (from Area Scale x4), but only two times Combat ST for damage purposes, two times HP, and two times DR (from Linear Scale x2). A 2" microhuman with Linear Scale x1/30 and Area Scale x1/1000 will have one-thirtieth human Combat ST, HP, and DR, and one-thousandth human Load ST.

Pros: The combat stats of big and small creatures play reasonably well together. The method meshes well with published designs; GURPS already scales combat-related stats along these lines, if not necessarily by conscious design. (GURPS does use this scaling explicitly in the rules for permanently shrunk characters on CI p.65). At the same time, the method gives those designs what GURPS doesn't: realistic lifting and carrying capabilities.

Cons: A split score means one more stat to work with and a slightly more complex point cost, though the additional complication is small in play. More than that, though, the downside is the departure from standard GURPS rules.

A bigger con is a certain disparity between the Load ST scores of "scaled" and "non-scaled" designs. A human muscleman with ST 20 has ST 20 for all purposes, while a double-height Giant with a base ST 10 build ends up with Combat ST 20 and Load ST 40. Both the muscleman and the Giant have the same Combat ST 20, but they have very different Load ST scores. This is an unavoidable disparity inherent in the method.

Using this method: This is the GULLIVER default.

4. The quad ST method (ST scales with Linear Scale, Load ST is ST^2/10)

This method pops up online whenever talk turns to future revisions of the GURPS ST stat – in fact, as of this writing, rumor has it that it will be the method used in GURPS 4e! Also known as the "squared ST" method, it finds favor with more than a few rules tinkerers.

Rule: Lifting and carrying ability scales with the square of changes in linear dimension, while non-measurable aspects of ST scale directly with changes in linear dimension. This is as the "split ST" method; the difference is in execution.

Multiply base ST by Linear Scale to get ST for damage and cost purposes. But compute ST for lifting and carrying purposes ("Load ST") as (ST squared)/10. Multiply base HP and DR by Linear Scale.

Alternately, keep a single ST stat, multiplied by Linear Scale as above, and modify all of GURPS' lifting- and carrying-related equations instead. Max one-handed lift becomes ST squared x 0.6 (instead of ST x 6), max two-handed lift becomes ST squared x 2.5 (instead of ST x 25), Light encumbrance occurs at ST squared x 0.2 (instead of ST x 2), etc. The result is the same either way.

Cost of ST: Pay for the main ST stat only; the calculated lifting ability is a built-in effect of that ST with no extra cost.

Example: A 17-foot Giant has a base ST of 13, tripled for Linear Scale x3 to ST 39. He uses ST 39 to purchase the stat and for damage purposes. But for lifting, use a Load ST of 39 x 39 / 10 = 152 (alternately, use ST 39 and modify the lifting/carrying equations as above). That lifting ability is included in the purchase of ST 39.

Comparison with "split ST" method: The results are similar. But "split ST" only suggests pairing a given Combat ST with a certain Load ST; they're not really connected by anything more than the hope that the designer set them both at sensible levels. The "quad ST" method automatically pairs a given lifting ability with a given ST score.

Pros: The cost of ST for a Super or Giant can be lowered drastically, reducing the need for unique pricing schemes. The method works similarly to the split ST method, but avoids the disparity between scaled and non-scaled designs: any two designs with ST 20 will also have the same, consistent lifting ability of four times the human norm.

Cons: Nothing changes for an ST 10 character, but lifting abilities change drastically for all other designs. (This isn't necessarily bad; many players would like to see boosted lifting abilities for PCs who've sunk points into ST.) Also, squaring numbers scares some players (though it really needn't).

Using this method: Take your Combat ST and call it simply "ST". Purchase it at normal cost. Replace all Load ST references with (ST x ST)/10; this is part of ST, and has no extra cost. (A technical tip: Lifting ability will rise rapidly with increases in ST, so keep ST adjustments for build or muscle composition modest. Use a base ST of 13 or so, not 15 or so, for a bodybuilder physique, a base ST of 9, not 8, for a somewhat scrawny physique, etc.)

GULLIVER's method: Split ST

The squaring method is great, if the play balance doesn't bother you. The quad ST method is perhaps the best of all – GULLIVER hopes it becomes official GURPS.

In the meantime, GULLIVER wants to help you sprinkle your game with Giants, Pixies, and other odd creatures without messing up existing human designs. That's the main reason for compromising on the split ST method: despite its imperfections, it does its intended job while leaving the majority of existing PC designs untouched.

7. What's the Deal with ST?

Why is ST so difficult to handle in GURPS? One reason: it doesn't have much in common with the other three basic attributes. Consider:

  1. ST is tied directly to a measurable physical quantity, the ability to move weight; a character's ST score must be set to match that ability.
  2. ST is also tied to an abstract quantity, damage; a character's ST score must be set to match damage levels that "play well".
  3. ST varies greatly with size; ST 0.001 is as valid for a tiny creature as ST 100 is for a large one. Other attributes fall within a much more narrow range, typically about 5 to 15 (or as low as 1 for IQ).
  4. Fractional ST scores are not only valid, but necessary for building small creatures. Fractional IQ, DX, and HT scores are neither meaningful nor needed.
  5. ST has its own unique pricing scheme for high levels, in response to the need for high scores and complaints that the regular attribute pricing scheme is too expensive for ST.
  6. Among the attributes, the cost of ST alone is further affected by physical features such as No Manipulators.
  7. GURPS' Contest mechanism works great for attributes – except ST, requiring workarounds (see Book 5).
  8. Skills can be based on any attribute – except ST. (GURPS does it anyway, with poor results that necessitate patches like Natural ST.) The same goes for letting a skill replace an attribute to resolve some task – it works well for DX, IQ, and HT, but not ST.
  9. Absolute bonuses to attributes – such as +2 to IQ for some ability or successful skill roll – generally don't work for ST. The result is a ridiculously high ST bonus for a tiny creature, and almost no meaningful bonus for a large one. ST modifiers need to be converted into percentages. Likewise, comparisons of ST to stats, such as a weapon's Min ST, need to use percentages (i.e., 50% higher) and not absolute numbers (i.e., 5 points higher) in order to work properly.
  10. ST by itself often makes a poor roll to resolve a task; the ratio of ST to the weight of a target – including a character's own weight – is often a more meaningful measure. ST 20 is functionally a very different stat for a cat and a tyrannosaur. IQ, DX, and HT generally face no such complications; HT 12 has the same meaning for ants and brontosauri alike.

Such a simple-sounding thing, this Strength, yet no other attribute commands as much attention, workarounds for problems, alternate pricing schemes, options for juggling tied quantities (lifting ability vs damage potential), difficulty in setting realistic scores, and so on.

Perhaps ST simply shouldn't be a basic attribute! That relabeling alone wouldn't change anything in the game, but would at least offer GMs (and GURPS writers) a greater sense of freedom in redefining the stat and its cost into something easier to use. Giving ST a totally new cost is easier to swallow once the "basic attribute" label is gone. Read to the bottom of the Appendix for just such a suggestion.

Is ST too expensive?

According to many players, yes. But this may be too quick a judgment, even in high-tech games. From hauling heavy gear to bashing down doors, you'll perform many tasks only with the aid of a strapping ST. You'll jump farther, throw harder, and wrestle meaner.

And don't forget your ability to dish out higher striking damage, even without that sword that no one else can wield. Doubling your punch damage through high ST may not seem worth the high point cost ("Hm, I could just buy DX and hit twice as often"). But remember that when foes sport armor, you'll deal many times the damage of your smaller comrades after DR is subtracted. You may be the only one who can hurt an armored baddie at all!

If GURPS' quirky point scheme for ST still remains too high to you or your DX-loving players, you can further tweak costs. But before you take the axe to ST point costs, consider this rundown of ways that GULLIVER rules already increase the value of ST:

  1. A high lifting and carrying ability is now cheaper, thanks to Load ST. (Using the Quad ST option lowers the cost even more!)
  2. That high lifting ability finds more combat uses in Book 5.
  3. The natural encumbrance rules in Book 2 let a PC buy unusual athletic prowess – if she's strong enough.
  4. The Weapon Design System in Book X lets you build a bigger and meaner version of just about any weapon, for more cold steel "oomph" to match your muscles. (And those rules tend to award more impressive damage for big weapons than GURPS does.)
  5. The damage bonus from All-Out Attack is changed to a percentage bonus, meaning brawnier battlers get a bigger bonus.
  6. Likewise, rules in Book 6 suggest a percentage-based damage bonus from martial arts skills and maneuvers. The stronger the fighter, the higher the bonus from Karate-15.
  7. Similar rules suggest percentage-based ST bonuses from martial arts skills in unarmed Contests of ST. The stronger the wrestler, the higher the ST bonus from Wrestling-15.
  8. Realistic rules add ST to the judo throw and arm lock equations. Arm lock rules let any bruiser twist a limb through brute force (though skill still makes the task much easier).
  9. Detailed rules for slamming, pushing, choking, crushing, and rending allow new forms of strongarm mayhem.
  10. The optional Toughness rule in Book 6 delivers a great defensive benefit from high ST, while greatly increasing the importance of being able to deliver high damage.
  11. Skills don't replace ST under GULLIVER rules, ever! No more losing a Contest of Jumping or Sumo Wrestling to a skilled, smirking weakling who exploits a rule that tosses ST out of the equation.

There are probably more. In short, GULLIVER is a friend of the musclebound PC, and helps make high ST fun to flaunt at any cost.

8. Hard-Core Scaling

The truly interested can check Vogel's Life Devices for a table showing how body components scale in relation to size, at least within the small range of animals studied. Typical mass y for any component in a mammal of size x, where x is the cube root of mass (i.e., a measure of linear dimension), can be computed as y = bx^a – or in English, y equals b times (x to the a power).

Of particular interest is a, the scaling factor. Here an a of 0 indicates the mass of the component is independent of body mass. A 1 indicates the component scales in proportion to length, a 2 indicates scaling in proportion to area, and a 3 indicates scaling in proportion to mass.

Surface area

Surface area has an a of 1.95 – it scales with length to a slightly lower degree than you'd expect. The explanation is simple: larger mammals tend to be bulkier, small ones spindly. (Animal surface area is very hard to measure, though!)

Muscle and bone

Muscle mass has an a of 3.00 – it's always 40 - 45% of body mass in normal mammals. Assume that one-third the mass of game animals is edible meat for PCs' rations, or a slightly higher percentage if the characters have time to really gnaw the bones.

The strength of bone, like that of muscle, increases more slowly with size than body mass does. A large terrestrial creature's bones can't just be big-sized versions of a small creature's bones – they have to be proportionately thicker as well, heavy and block-like. An a of 4.0 would be needed to give all mammals bones of equal strength relative to mass. That's really not needed, though, as large creatures don't have to deal with the acceleration that zippy, small creatures display.

Skeletal mass in land creatures has an a of 3.25 (terrestrial exoskeletons appear to scale similarly). That's not high enough for strength to keep up with mass, but high enough that bones command an increasingly high proportion of mass as body size gets larger. A shrew is about 4% skeleton by weight, a human 8.5%, a large elephant 13% or more.

Sea-goers have much less need for disproportionately thick bones: a is only 3.07 in whales, 3.09 in fish.


Heart mass scales almost in proportion to body mass: a is 2.94. The mass of other organs scales at a slower pace, interestingly: a is 2.55 for kidneys, 2.61 for livers, and 2.10 for non-primate brains.

Effective lung volume becomes only slightly proportionately larger as size increases: a is 3.09. But frequency of heartbeat and breathing slow down as size increases: a is -0.75 and -0.78, respectively. Metabolic rate has an a of 2.25 – relative to mass, larger creatures need less food and oxygen, smaller ones more.

Interestingly, the algebraic sum of lung capacity and breathing frequency become 3.09 - 0.78 = 2.31, and that of heart mass and heartbeat frequency, 2.94 - 0.75 = 2.19. These are close to – and even average to – the 2.25 of metabolic rate.

9. Talking Size

This table should help when talking about or naming really big or small numbers. Feel free to make up bogus units (like GULLIVER's "millipounds") whenever it helps the game!

Size Terms




























[no prefix]



























10. Cost of ST: A Pretty Good Suggestion

For all its discussion of ST, including ST's many differences from other attributes and the troubles GURPS has in pricing it, GULLIVER never gets around to actually suggesting a new cost for the attribute. D. Weber bridges that gap, with the best solution for the cost of ST that Your Author has seen yet.

The progression

Apply a steadily-declining cost for ST that works as follows:

ST 11-20: 10 pts/+1
ST 21-30: 5 pts/+1
ST 31-70: 2.5 pts/+1
ST 71-100: 5pts/+3 (1.66 pts/+1)
ST 101-200: 1 pt/+1
ST 201-300: 1pt/+2
ST 301-700: 2.5 pts/+10 (1 pt/+4)
ST 701-1000: 5 pts/+30 (1 pt/+6)
ST 1001-2000: 1 pt/+10
ST 2001-3000: 1 pt/+20

... and so on. Look carefully, and you'll see a neat pattern. What's neatest is that costs work out as follows:

ST 10 costs 0 pts
ST 15 costs 50 pts
ST 20 costs 100 pts
ST 30 costs 150 pts
ST 50 costs 200 pts
ST 70 costs 250 pts
ST 100 costs 300 pts

... and so on, where each jump in ST matching a level on the GULLIVER linear scale progression (roughly a x1.5 multiple) costs a flat 50 points, and every x10 multiple costs 300 pts.

This is pricier than standard GURPS ST from around ST 40 to ST 1000, Mr Weber points out. But if combined with Quad ST, it may be a very likeable cost. (Remember, GULLIVER's "split ST" scheme is a compromise for compatibility with GURPS; Quad ST is a much better scheme.) Every 50 points would increase ST as above, and roughly double lifting ability; every 300 points would multiply ST by 10 and lifting ability by 100.

Odd-sized creatures

Note the amazing ease of scaling large creatures under this scheme. Take a base ST 10 creature. For each level of Size bought, buy a neat 50 points of ST – you end up with the correct final Combat ST!

This even works with a different base ST. For a Giant with base ST 13, spend 50 points per level of Size, plus the 30 points it would have cost to get ST 13. Voila, a correct final ST and final cost. With Quad ST, there'd also be nothing else to do; a correct lifting ability comes automatically (no Load ST purchases to worry about).

Low ST

The above scheme doesn't work for ST under 10, though. (That's not a flaw on Mr Weber's part; there is no single formula possible that would provide happy results for both superhuman and subhuman ST.) For low ST, a simple -10 pts/-1 ST may be best.


The above is now GULLIVER's suggestion for the ST costs that GURPS should adopt, especially under Quad ST. Use the above costs for ST over 10, and -10 pts/-1 for ST under 10.

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