Designer’s Notes: More Skill Sets for Specialists

So I’m a fan of GURPS Action.  I don’t think anyone who has read the books could say otherwise. The rules offered in GURPS Action 2: Exploits alone are solid gold. GURPS Action 4: Specialists is similiar solid gold. Thus, it’s no surprise that I would want to add my own voice to the body of work that is GURPS Action. I think “More Skill Sets for Specialists” filled something of a niche within the product-line and also helped raise the visibility of the line a bit. After all, if you can use it for things other than just action movies it becomes more useful. More versatile. I more or less got everything I wanted into this and have only one real regret: not expanding the supernatural specialties more. I realize that I would need more of a setting or campaign frame to do so, but it still galls me that the ones I put in the article are so obvious and/or formulaic.

This one was easy to write – over 30 hours of back and forth tweaking here and there. It took me about 60 hours to edit (I had to hunt down a few formatting issues that cropped up and it sucked), 5 hours of research (mostly flipping back and forth between various GURPS books), and about 40 hours of revision. I spent a further 8 hours look looking over the preliminary PDF for any issues and revising.

Outtakes: Two New Specialties

A few things I didn’t have room for or that I found redundant.


25 points

You live or lived on the mean streets. Street life tends to bred the paranoid, resourceful, and hardy – most other types just end up dead or managed to get off the streets. This lens can be combined with most any other to create someone who was part of a specific background, but fell on hard times. In particular, Criminal Past (Specialists, p. 14), Infantry Training (Specialists, p. 17), Law Enforcement (Specialists, pp. 17-18), Special Agent (Specialists, p. 27), or Tradecraft (Specialists, p. 23) all fit a certain type. Psychic (see “More Skill Sets for Specialists,” Pyramid #3/112: Action II, p. 8) is also a good choice for a “crazy homeless person who hears voices” when the voices are actually real.

Advantages: Reduced Consumption 1 (Cast-Iron Stomach, -50%) [1]; Street Smarts 1 [10*]; Temperature Tolerance 2 [2].
Perks: No Nuisance Rolls (Home for Tonight) [1†].
Skills: Area Knowledge (any urban environment) (IQ/E) [1]; Current Affairs (any city) (IQ/E) [1]; Streetwise (IQ/A) [4]; Panhandling (IQ/E) [1]; Urban Survival (Per/A) [4].

* See GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents, p. 16.
† Allows the character to automatically find or make a place to sleep for that night that is moderately out of the weather (ignore up to -2 worth of penalties).

Xenological Expert

25 points

You’re the expert on extraterrestrial biology and psychology. How common this is depends on the campaign setting. In a futuristic science fiction setting with lots of aliens or alien life it’s just another flavor of zoologist. For something like a post-apocalyptic where the aliens invaded (and either won or resulted in some kind of stalemate) this specialty becomes far more important. Add Intelligence (Specialists, p. 17) or Infantry Training (Specialists, p. 17) for soldiers designed to go on bug hunts. Add Medicine (Specialists, p. 18) for doctors good with humans too.

Advantages:  Alien Friend 1 [5] or Animal Friend 1 [5*]; Animal Empathy (Xenological, +0%) [5†] or Sensitive (Xenological, +0%) [5†]. • Purchase another level of Alien/Animal Friend or buy Animal Empathy or Sensitive (whichever one you didn’t choose to begin with.
Skills: Pick one of the following packages:

• Expert Skill (Xenology) [4]. •  Spend 6 points in any Anthropology, History, and Psychology speciality that pertains to alien cultures and/or races or Diplomacy.
• Animal Handling (any alien speciality) (IQ/A) [2]; Animal Handling (any other one) (IQ/A) [2]; Veterinary (IQ/H) [2]. • Two of Animal Handling (any) (IQ/A) [2], Falconry (IQ/A) [2], Packing (IQ/A) [2], Riding (DX/A) [2], Teamster (IQ/A) [2], or increase Animal Handling or Veterinary by 2 points.

* See GURPS Power-Ups 3: Talents, p. 6.
† In campaigns with aliens this modifier is required to affect anything other than terrestrial beings. If you can affect both it becomes a +100% modifier.

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