frames Y / N

Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Book 6
Book 7
Book 8
Book X

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

Book X: Outtakes

GULLIVER Extras, Rejects, and Unfinished Business


Over 200,000 words, and it still ain't done. That's fine. GULLIVER's ridiculously bloated as is, and plans call for no more.

Below are some final toys for creature creation. There are wish list items: things that'd be fun if only someone would make them. There are goodies that are quite complete and workable, including optional systems for character life span and for designing appendages. These are here only to save space in Book 3, as are some creature design notes. Finally, there's the start of what would be a really nifty thing to have: a random creature generator.

Wish List

The addition of reader-contributed frames makes GULLIVER much easier to navigate and search, but there's room for improvement:


How about a big, alphabetical index? Look up a topic, and there are links to every incident of related rules or commentary. GULLIVER's frames already help here, but some folks like the extra thoroughness of an index.

Production is guaranteed to be a big, sleep-inducing task, though.

Book 3 table of traits

What soul would be so brave (and so endowed with time) as to mine Book 3 for all those new and revised traits – both those written up neatly and those glossed over in passing – and make a nifty Table? It could be alphabetical, or it could be sorted by category (as in Book 3). Either way, it might look something like this:






Jumper (new)

Allows jumping in place of normal running.



Enhanced Jump (new)

Each level adds 100% to distance (half level adds 50%)

5/lvl (3 for half lvl)


Super Jump (revised)

Each level doubles distance. One level can also represent non-muscle acceleration.


CI 68

Poor Jumper (new)

Each level reduces distance: {x2/3, x1/2, x1/3, x1/5, No Jump.}

-1/lvl (-5 max)







Unfinished Rules

Shapeshifting Rules

As mentioned in Book 3, it's not shapeshifting itself that's a problem, it's pricing the ability that's tough. Bestiary's were rules have flaws. A lot of home-brewed solutions have been proposed in online discussions, but none have become a standard. It's up for grabs. Go for it.

Aging System

Bio-Tech p. 113 offers a nifty modification to the aging rules that adds realistic miseries to the effects of growing old, not just attribute loss. Work a few more into the system if you like: Bad Back, Lame, Dependencies, and so on. A fully developed system won't just indicate a disadvantage, and then have you roll for it; it should be open-ended, with a possibility of picking up a second disadvantage at the same time, and then a third, with no limit except that of your rotten luck.

It's an interesting project with one drawback: poring over the GURPS disadvantage lists for new additions to aging is depressing. Growing old may beat the alternative, but not by much.

Miscellaneous Creature Design Notes

These are outtakes from Book 3 for space reasons:

Natural Tech vs Human Tech

GULLIVER aspires to be a Vehicles or Robots for living things, but differences are unavoidable. Living things don't lend themselves to exact measurements or neat formulae where Top Speed = f(Power, Weight). Nature's technology itself is very different from that of our machines: curved surfaces, pliant nonmetallic substances, composite materials, molecular motors, and the use of water as a compression-resistant structural material dominate in natural designs, while flat surfaces, straight lines, right angles, metals and other hard substances, isotropic (single-substance) materials, and big mechanical motors are common in human-made constructs. And those are just the beginning of the differences.

Even if earth critters' capabilities were more amenable to formulae, you'd still have to toss those out the window to build non-natural beasts. The basic GURPS system of building creatures through attributes, advantages and disadvantages, followed by simple calculation of physical capabilities, is quick, low on mathematics, well-tested, appropriately fuzzy, and fun. GULLIVER also sticks to the standard method of starting with a human default and adding/subtracting whatever you need until you get your design.

Bio-Tech came out in 1997 and covered many in-progress GULLIVER topics. That let GULLIVER skip a couple of areas, though it contains a lot of additions and alternatives to Bio-Tech material. Still, Bio-Tech is a must for its treatment of the technology behind biological modification, and that technology's role in society and the game.

Creating New Traits

If GURPS and GULLIVER don't have the trait you need for your design, make it up. See CI p. 16 for lots of good advice. And remember the golden rule: if it's not for a PC, points don't matter. Define the effects of the trait and don't worry about cost.

The value of a disadvantage should usually be less than that of the corresponding advantage. For example, halving your DX should garner you fewer points than it costs to double DX. A point of Reduced Dodge should be worth less than the cost of Enhanced Dodge. At best, the disadvantage's value should be the same as that of the corresponding advantage: Weak Will should really be worth -4/level at most, corresponding with the cost of Strong Will.

This prevents abuse, and reflects the relative impact of disadvantages and advantages on a character. A PC will always try to minimize the effects of a disadvantage by avoiding situations where it comes into play. She'll play up her advantages, seeking out situations where they shine. That's fine and fun; it's how we act in real life.

In the end, you can create just about any odd ability by combining advantages, disadvantages, enhancements, limitations, and plain old guesswork.

Example: A player really wants to play an intelligent click beetle. (No, really.) The PC has difficulty righting itself when on its back [-3 points; see Inflexible Body]. But it uses the click beetle's fix: a powerful head snap that shoots it into the air. Call this 4 points: 3 to buy off the difficulty standing, and another point for the surprise value and inevitable positive uses PCs will devise. But the PC has only a fifty-fifty chance of landing on its feet and not on its back again, so halve value to 2 points. Net value: -1.


One distinction between fantastic and real creatures might be called "the law of tradeoffs".

You can pile all the features you want onto a fantasy creature, even mundane ones: wings, claws, armor, camouflage, poison, webbing, a dozen limbs, and more, all in one design.

On a real creature, though, every one of these involves tradeoffs. Not only does evolution of new organs and appendages require eons, but their growth and maintenance require energy (as does moving their weight about). Natural selection works toward maximum offspring for minimal energy cost; accouterments beyond a certain point work against that. A fully-equipped species that's too successful may also overpopulate itself out of dinner – forever.

When designing realistic beasts, limit survival traits, trading off weakness in one area for strength in another. A classic example is the low reproductive rate of the big, powerful creatures at the top of the food chain, and the high birth rate of small, weak prey.

Creature Aggression

For non-PC critters, the most important question related to aggressiveness is "will it attack?". One interesting way to handle this: set both a "fight" and "flee" attribute for creatures, in the usual 3d range, with high numbers representing a high likelihood of taking that action.

Roll against both when the creature meets the PCs. Success on one and failure on the other indicates a clear course of action. Success on both means the creature definitely takes an interest in the PCs, but is uncertain how to respond. Failure on both means it shrugs and goes about its business unless provoked further.

Skill Bonus Traits

GURPS offers traits like Mathematical Ability that add to skills. Plenty of GMs have come up with their own versions of these Skill Bonus traits; by limiting aptitude to specific fields, they're a fun tool for getting that character concept just right.

Below are over a dozen Skill Bonus traits that cover a good range of fields, appropriate for either individuals or races. Many are new. Others are reworkings of existing GURPS traits. All use standardized skill bonuses: +3 on the most relevant skills, +1 on less relevant ones. This consistency means a lowering of Animal Empathy's skill bonus from +4 to +3, and a change from some level-based GURPS advantages (such as Language Ability and Musical Ability) to one-shot advantages offering a flat bonuses.

The below also keep things simple. For example, note the increased cost for the revised Animal Empathy, which no longer includes a Sense of Duty toward animals. This Sense of Duty can and usually should be added separately, as it's not nice to lure intended prey through some unnatural charisma. But that can be done – just ask any vampire!

See Book 4 for more on Animal Empathy.

Initial Notes

Skill Bonus traits and magic

GURPS isn't clear on whether Animal Empathy aids spells or not. Use this general rule for any of the below:

Add 5 points to a Skill Bonus trait's cost if it boosts one or a few magical spells or related skills. Examples include letting Scientific Ability (natural) improve Alchemy, or letting Craftsman improve a few relevant skills in the College of Making and Breaking.

Add 10 points to a Skill Bonus trait's cost if it boosts a large number of magical spells or skills, such as all or most of the spells of a College. A perfect example is allowing Animal Empathy to boost skills in the College of Animal spells.

Letting a trait boost several Colleges, or an otherwise very large number of spells, runs the risk of getting out of hand. Disallow, or charge an appropriately high extra cost. (Still, the point cost can remain less than the cost of 3 levels of Magery or IQ; 20 points may not be unreasonable.)

These decisions can be made on a character-by-character basis: a given druid shaman with Plant Empathy may gain a bonus on Plant spells, while a "less tuned" colleague doesn't.


Each of the below can be made into a corresponding disadvantage! Just turn the bonuses offered by the advantage into penalties, and offer the package for -1 point.

Call this a Group Incompetence, a reworking of GURPS' Incompetence. The difference: a Group Incompetence affects a whole group of skills, not just one. To balance this, skill penalties are only -3 or -1, not -4, and affected skills can be improved normally.

Multiple traits

A character design can mix any number of Skill Bonus traits or Group Incompetences. Note that certain traits overlap in their coverage, and some skills can benefit from more than one. As a rule of thumb, limit the bonus on any one skill from multiple Skill Bonus traits to +5.

You don't need to limit skill penalties from multiple Group Incompetences. Let them pile up.

Multiple levels

While these traits aren't meant to be bought in levels, multiple levels let you build, say, phenomenal savant-like ability in an otherwise mentally challenged character.

A suggestion for a leveled cost: Charge double points for the second level, triple for the third, and so on.

You can also use multiple levels of Group Incompetence to build a character who's phenomenally bad at something. Just don't let players go wild; disallow levels that would lower default skill level below 1.

Skill Bonus Trait List

Costs for the below are loosely based on utility. Tweak costs, and the list of skills covered by each trait, to fit your campaign.


Animal Empathy (revised)

10 points

You receive a +3 on Animal skills and +3 reactions from animals.

A Sense of Duty toward the well being of animals goes well with this trait. Add if you like; its point cost is separate.

Group Incompetence: Animal Enmity. This may be worth more points than -1, depending on the range of animals affected and their importance in the campaign.

Artistic Ability (new)

10 points

This trait represents a general creativity and sense of form in the visual arts. You receive a +3 on Artist, Calligraphy, Sculpting, Flower Arranging, and other fine arts. Your creative sensibilities also confer a +1 on Photography, Poetry, Writing, Dancing, Appreciate Beauty, and other arts outside of the visual "fine arts" field.

Artistic craft skills like Pottery qualify for the +1 bonus, unless the GM considers them fine arts and awards +3.

Group Incompetence: Inartistic.

Business Sense (new)

10 points

You have an instinctive nose for deals and the management of business. Receive a +3 on Merchant, Economics, Accounting, and Administration (business), as well as a +1 on Leadership, Diplomacy, and other skills when applied to a business situation.

Group Incompetence: No Business Sense.

Craftsman (new)

10 points

You receive a +3 on craft skills such as Blacksmith, Carpentry, Cooperage, Distilling, Masonry, Shipbuilding/TL4-, Armoury/TL4-, etc. Also take a +1 on skills which gain a +3 bonus from Mechanically Inclined (below).

Group Incompetence: Three-Fingered Shop Teacher.

Funny (new)

5 points

A relative of Performer (below). You're a natural wit, and gain +3 on skill rolls to make people laugh: comedic uses of Acting, Bard, Performance, Fast-Talk, Punning, etc.

Group Incompetence: Not Funny (whether you know it or not). Severe cases can upgrade to No Sense of Humor.

Good Aim (new)

15 points

You receive a +3 on TH with all ranged weapons. Note that this is +3 TH and not +3 skill; there's a difference when skill is used for purposes other than determining TH.

Group Incompetence: Lousy Shot.

Linguistic Talent (revised)

10 points

You learn language quickly and use it well. Take a +3 on Linguistics and language skills, and a +1 on Bard, Writing, and Poetry.

Group Incompetence: Tongue-tied (or "American", to European wags).

Literary Ability (new)

10 points, or 5 pts at TL5-

You have a knack for the written word. You receive a +3 on Writing and Poetry, and a +1 on Literature and language skills.

Group Incompetence: Poor Writer (or "Newsgroup Poster", to the Internet-weary).

Mathematical Ability (revised)

10 points, or 5 pts at TL5-

You have a head for numbers, mathematical logic, and programming structure. You receive a +3 on Mathematics, Cyphering, Abacus, Cryptanalysis, Cryptography, Cryptology, Computer Programming, Hacking, and Cyberdeck Operation. Take a +1 on Accounting, Astrogation, Engineer/TL6+, any skill with Mathematics as a prerequisite, and other skills as the GM rules.

Group Incompetence: Bad with Numbers, or Innumerate.

Mechanically Inclined (new)

15 points

You receive a +3 on Mechanic, Electronics, Electronics Operation, Engineer, Traps, Shipbuilding/TL5+, and Armoury/TL 5+, and a +1 on those skills gaining a +3 bonus from Craftsman (above).

Group Incompetence: Mechanically Disinclined.

Mimic (type) (new)

10 points

Take a +3 bonus on the Mimicry skill (P/H, based on HT; CI p. 152). This skill has three separate types: Human Speech, Bird Calls, and Animal Sounds.

Add a fourth type: Object Sounds, the ability to mimic creaks, vehicles, musical instruments, etc. Successful use results in a sound that's recognizable and amusing, but given the limitations of vocal cords, apply a -3 penalty to any an attempt at truly realistic sounds.

Buy Mimic for all four types for 10 points, or for individual types for 3 points each. Let Mimic (Human Speech) also add +1 to Acting.

For a separate 3 points you may remove the -3 penalty on realistic use of Object Sounds. This may be approprate for a robot.

Group Incompetence: Poor Mimic, covering all specializations. Don't forget the -1 on Acting.

Musical Ability (revised)

5 points

You're musically creative, with an excellent sense of rhythm and pitch. Receive a +3 on all Musical Instrument and music-related skills, as well as a +1 on Singing.

Group Incompetence: Tone Deaf, No Rhythm, Tin Ear, etc.

Performer (new)

10 points

You're a born crowd-pleaser. Take a +3 on Acting, Dancing, Bard, Performance, and other skills related to choreography and stage performance, as well as a +1 on Fast-Talk, Singing, Intimidation, Fortune Telling, Panhandling, Musical Instrument skills, and others as the GM decides.

Group Incompetence: Stage Fright, Disciple of Pia, Spawn of Zsa Zsa, etc.

Plant Empathy (new)

10 points

Also known as Green Thumb, this trait is the vegetable equivalent of Animal Empathy. You receive a +3 on Gardening, Agronomy, and Flower Arranging, as well as a +3 reaction from intelligent plants (should you find one). Take a +1 on Craft skills when working with wood, and on other skill rolls to identify or use plants (such as Survival, Poisons, Camouflage, etc.). You should also consider a separate Sense of Duty against unreasonable destruction of plants.

Group Incompetence: Brown Thumb.

Scientific Ability (natural) (new)

15 points

You receive a +3 on natural science skills: Chemistry, Physics, Biology, Astronomy, and many more. Also take a +1 on Research and on skills receiving +3 bonuses from Mechanically Inclined or Mathematical Ability.

Group Incompetence: No Rocket Scientist.

Scientific Ability (social) (new)

10 points

You receive a +3 on social science skills: Psychology, Literature, Theology, Occultism, Economics, Anthropology, and many more. Also take a +1 on Research.

Group Incompetence: Not Up for Tenure.

Strategist (new)

10 points

You have an uncanny sense for strategic planning, tactical maneuvers, and sizing up threats. You receive a +3 on Strategy, Tactics, and their recreational equivalents (Chess, Tactics (Football), etc.). Take a +1 on Diplomacy, Intelligence Analysis, games mixing luck and strategy, and any Contest involving extended debate, negotiation, or planning.

Group Incompetence: General Custer, New Coke Marketing Manager, etc.

Animal Empathy Notes

Realistically, this advantage wouldn't work on all animals – a horse and spider are not likely to both be swayed by the same charms. If you like, allow three separate Animal Empathy advantages, each affecting a range of beasts. Charge full points for each. Even at that cost the three advantages are very useful, especially in a tiny PCs campaign.

Animal Empathy (high): This affects the warm-blooded higher vertebrates, mammals and birds, which are capable of "liking" individuals. This Animal Empathy is the most appropriate one for human characters.

Animal Empathy (middle): This affects the cold-blooded lower vertebrates: reptiles, amphibians, and fish. These animals are unintelligent, never truly tame, and probably not capable of feeling real trust or fondness for humans, but something in your manner has a relaxing effect on them.

Animal Empathy (low): This affects all invertebrates, most importantly insects. In a realistic campaign, these creatures won't become your tame pets or experience anything remotely akin to fondness for you. Rather, you exude a pheromone or some other subtle signal that sends "ignore" or "avoid" commands to hungry bugs.

This trait might be an appropriate advantage not only for Insect Men but humans as well – some people walk through clouds of mosquitoes without a bite. Animal Empathy (low) can be gained cheaply with spray repellents, or even made permanent at high TLs by altering the body to secrete the appropriate pheromones.

Mages: By default, Animal Empathy doesn't assist Animal spells. Let mages gain the spell bonuses for an extra 10 points. Or use an extra 5 points per type of Animal Empathy if you use the three types above.

Appendage Builder System

This is an optional, experimental set of rules for appendage design that replaces all Book 3 rules for legs, arm, tails, the works. It's for both default limbs and extra ones. It deliberately blurs the line between arms and legs. You can build a "leg" with manipulators, an "arm" that walks and kicks, a striker that punches and acts as a spare leg, etc.

Why? Easier creature design. Look at chimpanzee feet or bird feet, which can grasp and even manipulate objects. Should you build chimps with no legs and then add extra "arms"? Or build a wolf as a four-legger with no arms, but a bear as a two-legger with arms that can rise up to swing or hug? These choices are unintuitive; most designers would prefer to build a chimp's legs as legs (though with manipulators), its arms as arms (though they help walk), a wolf's front legs as legs (with no special features), and a bear's front legs as legs (though with armlike characteristics).

Starting Point

Start with Quadriplegic [-80]. If you add no limbs, you're done. If you add any limb able to perform at least crude manipulation, start with Quadriplegic [-75] and move on to the next step. "Manipulator" hereafter refers to fine manipulators.

Now start designing limbs, one type at a time. Each limb starts at 0 points with no abilities.


Cost for a one-hex striker is 10 points. If the limb can't strike, go to Manipulating.

Increased stats are handled later, to match GURPS rules.


Choose one of the following:


Manipulators cost a base 5 points each. However, the first two manipulators each cost an extra 10 points, becoming 15 points each.

Don't add the costs of striker and manipulator just yet!

Increased stats are handled later, to match GURPS rules.


Multiply the cost of striker and manipulator separately for Reach:

Further progression should be obvious (and look really bizarre on you . . . )

Special rules:

This accommodates the GURPS cost for long or short arms.

Now add striker cost to manipulator cost.


Limbs needed for propulsion in primary Environment

Land: Multiply the cost so far for the following:

Any of the limbs can manipulate fully if you sit down, though attacks become difficult. Start with any existing penalties, add an overall -2 TH for sitting (BS p. 203), and add another -2 TH if the limbs are still in contact with ground while you sit (i.e., they're back limbs).

Note that penalties above are for raising all affected limbs off the ground – if you have many of the limbs, the GM can reduce the penalties for raising up just a few of them.

Water and air: Rearing up has little meaning in water or air. For aquatic swimmers or true aerial fliers, use a simple x1 cost for a limb that you don't need for mobility, and a x1/2 cost for a limb you do need.

The latter case means the limb can't move you on a turn in which it strikes, carries large objects, or is otherwise occupied. Carrying small objects will affect the limb's mobility little or none.

Limbs needed for propulsion in other home Environment

What would normally be a x1/2 break gets you a small point reduction; ignore lesser breaks. Call it a -10% limitation on the cost of the limb calculated so far, or a -20% limitation on the cost of the added Propulsion that comes later (the cost of Amphibious, flight traits, etc.), whichever nets you fewer points.

Example: An arm used as a wing is x1/2 cost for a true aerial creature – but for a terrestrial creature with wings, it nets only -10% the cost of the arm or -20% the cost of flight traits, whichever is worth less.

Limbs needed for propulsion in non-home Environment

For a non-home Environment (a fish on land, human in water, etc.), you need all those limbs for whatever poor mobility you can manage; there's no point break.

Extra Propulsors

Now it's time to add the cost of the limbs' movement ability. Forget your "main" propulsors: the body, tail, legs, swimmers, or wings that confer default walking (or swimming or flying) mobility in your home Environments; there's no point cost for those yet. That includes up to two legs, swimmers, or wings.

For additional propulsors, charge 1.5 points each. This pays for the additional "backups", and for the improved balance or skill bonuses of additional propulsors; these are Extra Legs, Extra Swimmers, or Extra Wings.

This cost is actually 2.5 points, reduced for what you give up when you use the limb – namely, striking and manipulating ability. This should be a Nuisance Limitation equal to the value of all striking, manipulating and Reach (for example, -15% for a limb worth 15 points up to the Posture stage). But, the values are too small to make precision worthwhile. Just use a minimum -40% limitation if the limb has any striker/manipulator value at all. This is overly generous, but keeps things quick and simple; usually you'll just use -40%, or 1.5 points per limb.


Order your finished limbs from most expensive to least expensive. Adjust cost as follows:

Further progression should be obvious. The cost for an infinite number of a given limb approaches 10x the cost for one (ignoring the "surcharge" cost for your first manipulators).


Charge for the default ability that comes from your "main" propulsors, whether body, tail, Single Leg or two legs, swimmers, or wings. This is 30 points for a default land or water mobility (and an extra 10 points, via Amphibious, for both). Air mobility has its own cost (see Book 3).

Wrapping Up

To recap, the order of design costs is as below, performing operations from left to right. Perform each operation on the total cost computed so far:

Base 0 pts + Striking x articulation + Manipulating x Reach x Posture + Extra Propulsors x Number + Propulsion.

Tips and Tricks

You'll find limb construction is easier than it looks. With a little practice, you may find it quicker to build identical limbs in pairs or larger groups, not individually.

Book 3 rules

These advanced rules will supersede some previously-mentioned traits. Poor Kick, for example, becomes lowered ST and DX for a striker; No Kick is simply no striker ability at all. Final design cost may differ from costs in GURPS or previous rules.

But GULLIVER rules and costs for most traits – Reduced Manual DX, Bad Grip, etc. – fit right into this system.

Limb HP, DR, etc. can be adjusted with Book 3 rules. Add other appendage-related traits as you like: Extra Encumbrance, Enhanced/Reduced Move, Claws etc.

Single Leg

It's possible to build a single propulsor as one limb with full special mobility, increased HP, etc., but the effort isn't worth it. Continue to use the Single Leg trait. It's a fudge, but it's less hassle.

Build two identical appendages and then "combine" them into one for 0 points. Count the appendage as two limbs, though, at the Numbers stage above!


A head remains a 0-point effect. To make a striking head, though, start with a striker, paying for Reach from there.

One special rule: If the head is not a striker, buy any increased Reach as though it were! This is mentioned under Special Rules for Reach above. It puts a positive cost on a long neck, a useful adaptation even when the head is not a striker or manipulator. Necks are otherwise like any other appendage: toss them into the overall appendage pile when you get to the Number stage.

If the head contains a brain, airways, etc., the supporting appendage will gain standard neck vulnerabilities; this is unavoidable unless you buy No Neck.


Weight: Be realistic about huge numbers of limbs and overall body weight.

Abilities: Feel free to fudge special effects a bit; for example, a limb with leg articulation swings poorly, but a "leg sweep" maneuver creates an exception. Seated fighting penalties can similarly be overcome with martial arts training.

Saving time: You don't necessarily have to start with -75 points and design all limbs; for a four-legged human you can start with the default 0-point form and build the extra legs. Or for a humanoid with unusual arms, start with default legs, and -40 points for No Arms. Design the arms and add their cost.


Below are examples. Options with 0 cost or a x1 multiplier are not mentioned. Names "arm" and "leg" are for description only; they're all "limbs" and perform as they were designed. All designs start at -75 points unless noted otherwise:

Normal human: Arms: Striking [10] x puncher [x1/2] + Manipulating [15] = 20, or 40 for two.

Legs: Striking [10] x kicker [x1/2] x back limb [x1/2] + land Propulsion [30 for two limbs] = 35 for two. Net cost: 0.

The human and the following primates are all terrestrial; water is not a home Environment. All arms and legs are needed for full mobility in water, which nets no points.

Semi-upright humanoid: For comparison, here's a humanoid with normal human hands and feet, but ape-like semi-upright posture. He moves freely on all fours, and staggers a bit with arms raised:

Arms: (Striking [10] x puncher [x1/2] + Manipulating [15]) x semi-upright limb [x4/5] + Extra Legs [2.5, -40% = 1.5] = 17.5, or 35 for two.

Legs: normal human = 35.

Net cost: -5.

Horizontal humanoid: As above, but movement with arms off ground is very clumsy:

Arms: (Striking [10] x puncher [x1/2] + Manipulating [15]) x horizontal limb [x2/3] + Extra Legs [2.5, -40% = 1.5] = 14.8, or 30 for two.

Legs: normal human = 35.

Net cost: -10.

Lycanthrope runner: As normal human, but can run using arms too, for extra stability or injury backup. Posture is upright, with default human capabilities when arms are off the ground. This design has a net advantage, as it suffers penalties neither on two legs nor in an all-fours pose that would be extremely clumsy and slow for a normal person!

Arms: (Striking [10] x puncher [x1/2]) + Manipulating [15] + Extra Legs [2.5, -40% = 1.5] = 21.5, or 43 for two.

Legs: normal human = 35.

Net cost: 3.

If the quadruped pose actually makes you faster, add Enhanced Move [10] with Nuisance Limitation: No Arms [-40%]. Here 40 is the actual combined value of both arms' manipulating, striking and Reach ability; both arms are needed to gain the speed bonus.

Chimp: Arm manipulator costs are reduced 40% for 3 levels of Reduced Manual DX and 1 level of Poor Grip; leg manipulator costs are reduced 60% for 4 levels and 2 levels, respectively.

Arms: ((Striking [10] x puncher [x1/2]) + Manipulating [15, -40% = 9]) x semi-upright limb [x4/5] + Extra Legs [2.5, -40% = 1.5] = 12.7, or 26 for two.

Legs: ((Striking [10] x kicker [x1/2] x Reach x2/3 [x2/3]) + (Manipulating [5, -60% = 2] x Reach x2/3 [x2/3])) x back limb [x1/2] + land Propulsion [30 for two limbs] = 34.7 for two, or 35.

Net cost: -14.

Four-leggers: These stats apply to a horse, dog, etc. and cover the No Fine Manipulators, Horizontal, and Extra Legs traits in GURPS write-ups. As with the humanoids, these are terrestrial creatures and get no point breaks for the need to rely on all limbs to swim.

Back legs: Striking [10] x kicker [x1/2] x back limb [x1/2] + land Propulsion [30 for two limbs] = 35 for two.

Front legs: Striking [10] x kicker [x1/2] x horizontal limb [x2/3] + Extra Legs [2.5, -40% = 1.5] = 10 for two.

Net cost: -30.

Bear: As four-legger, but change front legs to puncher articulation [also x1/2] and semi-upright limb [x4/5]. Net cost: -29.

Turtle: As four-legger, but change front legs to back limbs [x1/2], as they can't be raised up. Net cost: -32.

If it's an aquatic turtle, add water Propulsion for a pair of legs – it's called Amphibious [10]. Also add Extra Swimmers for another two legs [2.5, -40% = 1.5] = 3 for two.

Striker ability for the four legs costs 10 points total, as above; for the fact that they're needed for mobility in the added home Environment of water, take a -10% limitation on that cost, or a -20% limitation on Amphibious, whichever is less. The former is less, netting [-1].

Net cost: -32 + 10 + 3 -1 = -20.

Bird: There are no arms. Leg manipulator costs are reduced 40% for 4 levels of Reduced Manual DX.

Legs: (Striking [10] x kicker [x1/2] + Manipulating [15, -40% = 9]) x back limb [x1/2] + land Propulsion [30 for two limbs] = 44 for two.

Wings: Striking [10] x puncher [x1/2] + air Propulsion [30 for Powered Flight] = 40 for two. Apply a limitation of -10% on cost of wing strikers, or -20% on flight traits, whichever is worth less, as the strikers are used to fly. Wing cost becomes 39.

Net cost: 8, without any extra Slow Fall ability from flight.

Bat-Being: Weird beast with legs like the bird above, and bizarrely long winged arms with humanlike manipulators that are also used to walk. Primary Environment is land; air is another home Environment.

Legs: Striking (([10] x kicker [x1/2]) + Manipulating [5, -40% = 3]) x back limb [x1/2] + land Propulsion [30 for two limbs] = 34 for two.

Arms: ((Striking [10] x puncher [x1/2] x Reach x2 [x2]) + (Manipulating [base 5] x Reach x2 [x2] + [remaining 10 points]) x horizontal limb [x2/3] = 20, or 40 for two. Finish the arms with Extra Legs [2.5, -40% = 1.5] = 3 for two, for 43 total.

Arm cost already includes their need to be walked on, but we have to consider the fact that they're also flown on. Take a -10% limitation on arm cost, or a -20% limitation on flight traits, whichever is worth less. The former will be less; arm cost drops to 39.

Now add air Propulsion [30 for Powered Flight] to arms.

Net cost: -75 + 39 + 34 + 30 = 28.

Mantis: You have four legs that stay on the ground and cannot kick, and two grabbers that you can walk on (or not walk on, as you like; there's no penalty for raising them). Might as well throw in four wings too:

Legs: Land Propulsion [30] for first two legs; Extra Legs [2.5] or 5 for another two legs.

Strikers: Striking [10] x grabber [x1/2] + Extra Legs [2.5, -40% = 1.5] = 6.5, or 13 for two.

Wings: Air Propulsion [30 for Powered Flight] for two, Extra Wings [2.5] or 5 for another two.

Time to consider numbers: Before adding the cost of Propulsion, the six most expensive appendages are the two strikers [6.5], two Extra Legs [5] and two Extra Wings [5]. No cost reduction for these first six. Remaining appendages get reductions – but in this case the pairs of default legs and default wings happen to have no striking/manipulating ability and no cost, so no reduction.

Net cost: -75 + 35 + 13 + 35 = 8.

Snake: Start with -80 points, not -75; there are no appendages at all for crude manipulation. The default legs are a Single Leg, with no particular abilities or cost. Add land Propulsion [30] for default mobility. Net cost: -50. The snake cannot kick or strike, except with its head.

For a swamp snake, add water Propulsion (Amphibious [10]). For a winged snake, add air Propulsion as appropriate, and start with only -75 points, not -80; you now have crude manipulators. The wings may have Striker ability too. For any snake, also consider Inaccessible Propulsion (land and water versions) [5 each].

Elephant Trunk: Here's an example using the rules to build just one special limb, instead of a whole animal. A trunk is an elephant's only fine manipulator; cost is reduced by -40% for 3 levels of Reduced Manual DX and 1 level of Poor Grip (call this 2 levels of Poor Grip for small objects, none for large ones, averaging to 1). Reach is short for an elephant; it'll still be long to a human!

Trunk: (Striking, -80% ST [10, -40% = 6] x puncher [x1/2] x Reach x2/3 [x2/3]) + (Manipulating [base 5, -40% = 3] x Reach x2/3 [x2/3] + [remaining 10 points, -40% = 6) = 10. Add Extra Flexibility (one limb) [5]; the appendage is also Invertebrate [0].

Cost = 15.

Life Span Meta-system

Here's an optional, experimental attempt at overhauling the life span rules. It replaces the rules in GURPS.

Divide your life into four stages:

Life Span Table




cost to decrease

cost to lengthen


5 years


0/lvl (0 max)

0.5/lvl (5 max)


15 years


-1/lvl (-5 max)

1/ lvl (10 max)


30 years


-8/lvl (-40 max)

3/lvl (15 max)




-1/lvl (-25 max)



Basic Stages

Infant represents the stage at which the character cannot survive without care. Child is the remaining developmental stage. Adult is the "productive" stage for most PCs, and Elderly is the stage at which aging rolls take place, as described in GURPS.

You can tweak the length of any stage a bit for no point cost: subtract up to 20%, or add up to 10%. Humans have the Child stage lowered to about 13 years in length (age 5 to 18), and Adult lengthened to about 32 years in length.

Modified Length

Now modify stages as you like. Each level of increase modifies length by the progression x1.5, x2, x3, x5, x7, x10, x15, x20, x30 . . . Levels of decrease use the progression x2/3, x1/2, x1/3, x1/5, x1/7, x1/10, x1/15, x1/20, x1/30 . . .

Modify each of these independently. That's an important part of this system: any decrease lowers overall life span, and any increase lengthens overall life span!

Example: Halving the length of your Child stage decreases its length to 7 years (age 5-12); adulthood occurs over the 30 years from age 12 to 42, and your Elderly stage starts from there. You've shortened your life span by 8 years!

Cost to decrease

The 0-point cost for Infant represents a fair tradeoff between lowering the length of this vulnerable stage (and its burden on society) and decreasing life span by a small amount. Shortening Child carries a small point value for the life span lost, and shortened Adult has a much higher value.

Add levels of the Youth disadvantage (or an equivalent Social Stigma) and gradually buy these off, as appropriate for society's view of the PC's age.

A cost in parentheses is the maximum disadvantage value; it's the cost to do away completely with the stage! Many creatures have no Infant stage, for example, and are born quite functional. (Yes, for -70 points you can do away with all stages and die at birth, but play value is sadly limited.)

Cost to lengthen

Any increase boosts life span; hence the point costs all around. Also divide any levels of the Age disadvantage by the amount by which you lengthened the Elderly stage. For example, if your elderly decline is only one-fifth as rapid as a human's, you have a level of Age for every 5 years beyond adulthood.

Costs in parentheses are the cost to lengthen a stage to infinity! Being an adult forever means you never hit the Elderly stage; being an infant forever means you never hit the Child stage, and so on. You may not take points for decreasing the length of stages you never hit, and may not take the Age disadvantage.

The Elderly stage cannot be increased indefinitely! But you can build a PC who found immortality at old age, now spending an eternity in poor health. Pay 15 points for permanent adulthood and buy decreased stats as appropriate for your physical condition. You don't actually reach the Elderly stage (i.e., make aging rolls), and don't have the Age disadvantage. You may or may not have social traits related to your perceived age.

Comparison with GURPS

Many of this system's results mirror GURPS. Halving your life span at all stages is worth -20 points, the same as Short Lifespan. Permanent adulthood is the same as Unaging at 15 points. The only life span extender allowed for humans, Longevity, can be simulated with 10 levels of lengthened Elderly stage – which will lead to your easily outliving the nursing home staff, but then again so will Longevity. Reduce levels as you like.

A few things work out differently. Doubling life span at all stages costs 10 points, twice as much as Extended Lifespan. Life isn't cheap! Early Maturation becomes two levels of decreased Infant and Child stage, plus a level of lengthened Adult stage to make up for the life span loss, for a net 1 point. The closest effect to Self-Destruct is 15 levels of decreased Elderly stage, for a slightly changed point cost. (With this trait, take your choice between regular aging rules with their increasing frequency of rolls, or the Self-Destruct rule, which has no increasing frequency but applies a flat -3 to HT rolls.)

Terminal Illness

The decreased or lengthened life span rules don't work here; use the GURPS trait as is. Or take a -50 point disadvantage for 24 months' remaining life, and decrease the length of that span for -5 points per level, using the progression above. The disadvantage value keeps increasing as you get down past the months and weeks, and into the days or hours; the GM will place some limit on how short a remaining time you can have.

The GURPS rules indicate that you know when you're going to go. As an option, let the last level of shortened time decrease your span by less than the full amount – but you don't know how much. For example, you shorten your base 24 months by two levels, normally 12 months' time left. But instead of exactly 12 months, you have between 12 and 16 months. The GM rolls the length randomly, and doesn't tell you!

GUBBS (GULLIVER Bioform Builder System)

Roll your own! This was supposed to be a companion Book to Book 3, but working all of Book 3 into random generation tables is just too big a job. Not that an attempt wasn't made. Below is the beginning, working through about one-sixth of the material.

General Notes


Formatting isn't fully standardized, but is fairly clean. Die rolls that give few possible results are worked into main text; those with lots of possible results use tables.

In the main text, a note of "GURPS:" or "GULLIVER:" indicates alternate ways of handling something, depending on your preferred set of rules.

Level of detail

Many traits can be further modified through enhancements and limitations. A complete system would make these possible for any rolled trait, but that's a lot of extra detail. There's no attempt below to do this, even for major enhancements/limitations mentioned under trait descriptions.

Finishing the system will further entail options for GULLIVER's levels of rules: "GULLIVER simple rules:", "GULLIVER detailed rules:", etc.!


On most tables, the first column tells you what to roll.

The second column tells you what you rolled, often a game trait.

The third is reserved for conditions that must be met before you accept the result rolled. "Confirm" means to reroll and accept the result only if it comes up again; otherwise, take what you rolled. Notes like "If you do not have legs, reroll until you get different result" would belong here as well, though this column is barely used so far.

The fourth column gives further detail, or goto instructions that let you skip unnecessary rolls. A note of "(r1)" or "(r2)" indicates a footnote below the table.

Die rolls

An "n" by a number indicates "natural": a natural 18, for example.

The word "Mod" refers to modifiers to a die roll.

The words "toward" or "away from" are a special mechanic. "Mod: +-2 toward 10 if CO = organic" means to take the result and shift it by +-2 toward 10 if composition (CO) = organic. Rolls of 8, 9, 10, 11 and 12 all become 10. A roll of 5 becomes 7, a roll of 18 becomes 16, and so on.

If that were "+-2 away from 10", any number above 10 would add 2, and any number below 10 subtract 2. A roll of 10 would remain 10.

The System

Here goes!

1. Creature Role

You need to decide, not roll, your creature's role (CR). Some ideas: nuisance; local color; minor menace; major menace; extreme menace; menace if provoked; food/prey; work beast; companion; NPC race; PC race.

2. Reality Level

2.1 Uniqueness Table: Results can be rolled, but this one is really better left to choice.


Reality Level (RL)




high fantasy


space opera / hi fantasy


low fantasy


hard sci-fi / low fantasy




Earth real

3. Uniqueness

3.1 Uniqueness Table: As above, this one is better chosen:


Uniqueness (UN)






unique being




hybrid of 2+ species/races




mutant member of species




individual member of species





4. Environment

4.1 Home Environment Table: Result is your first home (i.e., primary) Environment.

Mod: +-2 away from 13 if RL = high fantasy, +-1 away from 13 if RL = low fantasy.


home Environment (HE)




aerial [-10 + flight traits]




aquatic [0]

Confirm if PC race and campaign is mostly terrestrial



terrestrial [0]

Confirm if PC race and campaign is mostly aquatic



aerial [-10 + flight traits]



4.2 Multiple HEs: Roll 1d. Mod: +3 if rolling PC race and HEs rolled so far don't match campaign norm (i.e., it's a land game and you rolled aquatic).

Additional HEs have above cost, plus 10 points. This is Amphibious if water is involved.

4.3 Habitat Table: Roll an appropriate habitat for each HE. For fresh water and atmospheric habitats, roll again on the land column, if you like, to get local land surroundings.


Habitat (Ha)

HE = land

HE = water

HE = air








Atmospheric, upper




Atmospheric, upper



Fresh Water

Atmospheric, upper



Fresh Water

Atmospheric, mid



Fresh Water

Atmospheric, mid



Salt Water

Atmospheric, mid



Salt Water

Atmospheric, mid



Salt Water

Atmospheric, lower



Salt Water

Atmospheric, lower



Salt Water

Atmospheric, lower


Parasitic Host

Parasitic Host

Parasitic Host

4.31 Mixed habitats: Roll 1d for each home Environment. Mod: +2 if air, +1 if water.

4.4 Specific habitat: There are far too many possibilities to roll; choose details of the habitat.

4.41 Gravity: Choose or roll gravity here, if a non-Earth world: Roll 3d. Result divided by 10 is your native gravity (g).

For more variety, reroll g if it's not 1, and multiply previous g by new g. Continue this until you roll 1-g.

4.5 Environmental Intolerance: Choose Environmental Intolerance if habitat(s) rolled so far exclude major campaign environments. Or Roll 1d:

5. Body Plan

5.1 Body Plan Table

Mod: +2 if RL = high fantasy, +1 if RL = low fantasy.


Body Plan (BP)






Have fun!




Centaur or other hybrid.








ex: halibut




ex: starfish




ex: human, worm, bird

5.2 Limb Extrusion: Roll 3d. Mod: +8 if BP = amorphous, +2 if RL <> real. 18+ = Limb Extrusion.

5.3 Inconvenient Form: Roll 1d. Mod: +1 if BP <> campaign racial norm (= symmetrical for human-centered worlds). 6+ = Inconvenient Form; cost is [(1d-3) x -5, min -5].

6. Composition

6.1 Composition Table

Mod: +4 if RL = high fantasy, +2 if RL = low fantasy.


Composition (CO)






goto 6.2




goto 6.3




goto 6.3

6.2 Exotic Composition Table

All of the below represent your normal state, i.e., they are "always on" unless some transformation ability is added!


Exotic Composition (EC)




Body of Ice [10]


density=0.9; goto 7


Body of Water [-20]


density=1; goto 7


Body of Air [-30]


density=0; goto 7


Body of Fire [3/lvl]


density=0; goto 7 (r1)


Body of Earth [36]


MD=+2, density=min 1.5; goto 6.3


Body of Stone [6/lvl]


MD=+4, density=min 2.5; goto 6.3 (r1)


Body of Metal [7/lvl]


MD=+6, density=min 2.5; goto 6.3 (r1)


Insubstantiality [80]


density=0; goto 7


Astral Entity [-25]


density=0; goto 7


Shadow Form [-20]


density=0; goto 7

(r1) Number of levels = 2d-6, min 1. n12 = roll and add again.

6.3 Modified Density (MD): Base density is 1. Roll 3d. Mod: +-2 toward 10 if CO = organic; +-2 toward 10 if RL = real.

7. Size

7.1 Size: Roll 3d-10. Mod: +-3 toward 0 if CR = PC race or major NPC race; otherwise +-1 toward 0. -4 if HE includes aerial. If HE includes land or air and RL = real, max result is 6 (or 6/g for non-Earth gravity).

GURPS: [0].
GULLIVER: [10 per Size above 0; 0 for Size 0 or smaller].

7.2 Minor Size Modification (MSD): Roll 1d:

7.3 Inconvenient Size: No roll.

GURPS: Inconvenient Size [-10] if Size +1 or more; [-15] if Size -3 or less.
GULLIVER: Inconvenient Size [-5] if Size 0 and smallish/largish; [-10] if Size -2,-1,+1, or +2; [-15] if Size -3 or smaller, or +3 or larger. Adjust for campaign.

7.4 Unusual dimensions: Roll 1d:

GURPS: No cost or effect.
GULLIVER: See Book 5 for effects, Book 3 for cost, as an advanced rule.

8. Supporting Structure

8.1 Supporting Structure Table

Mod: If RL = real, -1 per two levels of Size below -4. If HE includes terrestrial and RL = real, +1 per level of Size above -4.


Support Structure (SS)












Invertebrate (r1)

r1: GURPS: [-20]. GULLIVER: [0]; additional effects come later.

8.2 Extra Encumbrance

If HE does not include terrestrial, goto 9.

From structure: Roll 2d. Mod: +(gravity -1), rounding away from 0. -1 if SS = hydrostatic/none. 10+ = one level of Extra Encumbrance.
From Size: Roll 1d. 1 = add (g x Size/10) levels, round down. 2 = add (g x Size/6) levels, round down. 3-5 = add (g x Size/3) levels, round down. 6 = add (g x Size/3) levels, round up.
From other: If RL <> real add 3d-14 levels (min 0). n18 = roll again and accumulate.
GURPS: Only one level available [5].
GULLIVER: [5/level].

9. Musculature

9.1 Base ST: Roll 3d:



9.2 Other modifications: Roll 3d. Mod: +2 if RL <> real.

10. Body Fat

If UN = species, roll 1d. 1-5 = goto 11.

10.1 Body Fat: Roll 3d. Mod: +3 if high-fat society (late 20th century USA) and roll > 10. -1 if food-poor society, or -3 if food-poor society and roll < 10.


11. Structural Abnormalities

If UN = species, roll 1d. 1-5 = goto 12.

11.1 Growth disorders: Roll 3d:

For either Dwarfism or Gigantism, lower DX by 3d-14 (min 0), lower HT by 3d-14 (min 0), and take 3d-14 (min 0) levels of Reduced Move.

11.11 Dwarfism: Roll 1d:

11.2 Back disorders: Roll 3d:

Mod: +2 if Gigantism or Dwarfism.

12. Respiration

12.1 Breathing

Roll 3d. Mod: +2 if RL <> real. +2 if CO = inorganic. +4 if CO = exotic. 14+ = Reduced Air Requirements. Roll minus 13 is number of levels (max 5, = Doesn't Breathe).

And Then?

That's all there is! Too bad, because it's pretty fun to roll the dice and see what comes up. There are no plans to finish this system. You're welcome to take up the torch, but be aware that it'll probably only get harder as you go along. The farther you go, the more checks and modifiers you'll need; some results may even force a reroll of items rolled earlier.

Don't despair if you crave more; there's a separate fix available online by another author, though based on GURPS, not GULLIVER. Check out the creator.rtf file at the GURPSnet archives for a thorough and well-written creature rolling system. A particularly nifty feature: the system pays close attention to mind and body relationships, linking a creature's environment and physical form with its personality and behavior. Happy rolling!

frames Y / N

Book 1
Book 2
Book 3
Book 4
Book 5
Book 6
Book 7
Book 8
Book X

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