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Saturday, July 1, 2017

GURPS House Rules: Attributes Without Skills


Rules for how to price and purchase the attributes once they’ve been divorced from any relation to skills.


Because we like you. Wait, no. Because I removed the skills from the attributes and now need new prices for what’s left of the attributes.

The Rules

ST: Unchanged (If only they could all be this easy.)

HT: Unchanged (Covers a few skills that don’t matter—I suspect this is already underpriced as it is, even without the skills.)

Per: Its own thing. Costs 5/level as normal.

Will: Its own thing. Costs 5/level as normal.


Okay, so the obvious question here is: without skills, Per, or Will, what’s even left of IQ?

Here’s what I could find.

Rolls to remember things. This is the part of IQ that’s modified by Perfect Memory.

Rolls against surprise and mental stun. This is the part that’s modified by Combat Reflexes.

And general rolls for what I think of as reason. I don’t know how other GMs run things, but in my games, a player will often ask a question like, “Can I make a roll to help figure out what the original pattern in these scattered floor tiles was?” The response I give is, “Make an IQ roll.”

It’s obvious at this point that IQ is really nothing more than a Super Talent. It’s basically skills, Per, Will, and very little else. My inclination is to split what we have left into individual subattributes called Memory (used for remembering things; starts at 10 and costs 1/level) and Wittedness (what you roll against surprise and mental stun with ; starts at 10 and costs 1/level). Maybe have a third trait called Reason that is also 1/level and functions similarly to the Common Sense advantage, but that everyone would have. You could also use a separate trait for learning, since that’s something else you can rolI for, but most games don’t even use learning rolls. If you don’t want to separate IQ into those component parts, I recommend keeping it as a package that handles those few separate things and costs 2/level or 3/level. It’s really kind of useless, though, and not something anyone is going out of their way to buy.


Like IQ, this is basically a Super Attribute mixed in with some sub attributes.

Very similar to IQ. We have the bonus to Basic Speed (which really should be its own separate trait in the first place in the way that Per and Will should be) and… not much else. There are rolls to balance. And there are rolls to fetch items from your bags or whatever when you have a chance of failure at what you’re doing, but you aren’t using a skill. You might be on the fifth floor of a burning building that’s collapsing around you while you’re fighting a werewolf. When you go to pull that speedloader with your silver bullets from your bag, you’ll need to make some roll to get it out of your shaking bag. That’s one of the few things that DX does that isn’t a skill.

Like with IQ, I suggest splitting these things up into their own attributes. One attribute for Balance and one for these other odds and ends. I would call this attribute Motor Control.

So this could be as simple as removing all the skills and dropping DX to 7 points per level (which would be 5 points worth of Basic Speed, and then 1 point for Balance and 1 point for the odds and ends).

Once we’ve reached this point, maybe we should go another step and remove the Basic Speed portion of DX and make that its own separate thing.

The easiest way to do this

That would give you the following attributes:

ST – 10/level
DX – 2/level
IQ – 2/level
HT – 10/level
Per – 5/level
Will – 5/level
Basic Speed – 20/level

And then you just go on as usual. This is fairly noninvasive. You aren’t changing around a ton of rules.

In my full house rules, I go even further, breaking down all of the attributes into their component parts. I’ll save that for another post.

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