Gamemaster’s Guidepost: My Character Creation process, Part II

I’d like to go ahead and finish up my talk on my personal character creation process for my games, as before, I usually only run GURPS (I‘ve been known to run Chaosim’s Elfquest though…) so this is more or less specific to that system.

When I last left off I had finished describing the first process of character creation for my games, which is the ‘fluff’ of your character. Next comes the ‘crunch’, and I always find the crunch much more fun, but that’s just a personal preference.  I like creating characters, I like seeing how amazing the GURPS system is, how well it conforms to whatever idea or concept you have, I like to confirm the ‘Generic’ and ‘Universal’ aspects of the system name. Some decry that GURPS isn’t truly universal because it doesn’t do things like ‘True Invincibility’ or ‘Infinite Power Replication’, it would be difficult (but not impossible) for instance to build someone like Superman or Peter Petrelli from Heroes (early seasons) because essentially they have ‘infinite’ power and infinite in GURPS requires infinite points. I never really thought characters like that were fun anyways so it doesn’t bother me.

The first thing I do is to determine the modified point total after taking into account the bonus points from any fluff the player has put together for his character. And if the point total varies in the intended campaign (which I and my players like to do often) now is when the player will determine that, usually by a simple die roll. For example, a base 50 plus 1d x 50 for a range of 100 to 350. From there it’s a simple matter of matching the character traits to the character’s fluff. I like my player’s to take as many disadvantages as are appropriate to their character, I think that disadvantages as much as advantages truly make a character COME ALIVE. After the selection of traits comes equipment, which I personally feel takes even longer than the process of creating a character. All and all I find that creating a single character my way takes approximately 10 to 14 hours, but once it’s done the character can last for years, for instance L.A. (@deathsbard) has a character that we created back in 2006 that she is still playing and using, the character has of course grown from the original design as all RPG characters do but the point is she still has her character and the thoughtful planning that went into the design has all but insured the character’s concept and continued use.

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  1. Oh GURPS can dish out a character in about 60 to 90 minutes depending on the genre and how much worked material there is. But I go into insane *depths* to set up the character sheet for easy updating later on (I do everything digitally, its just easier record-keeping in my humble opinion). And yes, you can easily develop a PC via mail. It's how I do it usually. Having a good Adversary is vital for groups larger than four players and (IMHO) necessary for those with 6 or more. I personally have a distaste for solo gaming and do my best to weave the stories of each of the characters together. Even if a particular section of the game is going to be "solo" I require all my players to be there anyways. It's good for team-building and makes it so I don't have to repeat what may or may not have happened to a individual PC.

  2. I commented on P I, and was floored by the revelation on P II that chargen for you takes 10-14 hours! Again, I'm new to GURPS, and while I am coming to understand the very nature of a fully fluffed and crunched character prior to any game play, I cut my teeth in the sense that a character could be hacking within 60 minutes of inception.

    I have a very seasoned GURPS player (six folks have committed to playing in my made from scratch home grown Dystopian Adventure. We haven't yet met in person but will in two weeks) that has offered to be my sous GM for book keeping and Adversarial NPCs. He says the players should be able to fully develop a PC via email??

    Going back to my earlier days as DM. While we did get characters up and running in no time, I always would then schedule a solo campaigning session one on one for the most part with each player. This allowed a pretty deep immersion into building the background narrative for the PC. This could happen at 1st – Xth level.

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