GURPS101: Making Friends and Conjuring People

“Friends are as companions on a journey, who ought to aid each other to persevere in the road to a happier life.”
— Pythagoras

The Allies advantage (p. B00) can represent a plethora of abilities. From a steadfast ally to the supernatural ability to summon a monster to fight for you.

Allies as Pieces Parts:
So what does Ally do and how does it do it?

  • Can be trusted and relied on completely, while not a mind-controlled minion they usually follow your lead.
  • Allies can cause trouble on their own: they might pick a fight with a gang, insult a local judge, etc.
  • If you betray, attack, or (unnecessary) endanger your ally you automatically lose character points earned for the session. Do this often enough and you will lose the advantage. If your ally dies and the GM believes you had a hand it you lose earned character points AND the advantage.
  • The “power” (e.g., point value) of your ally depends on the base cost. This value is then based on your point total.
  • How often he appears is based on his frequency of appearance. This is capped at 150% of your point value (but see below) for sentient allies. For non-sentient allies each +50% in point value increases base cost by 5 points.
  • Allies built on no more than 100% of your points may also be dependents.
  • You might have more than one interchangeable allies (e.g., a squad of robots). If so use the group multiplier.
  • As your point value grows so does your allies.

Associated Penalties:

Rules as Written Allies Special Modifiers
A short list of modifiers for Allies appear below:

  • Conjurable (Enhancement: GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 9: Summoners, p. 4): Like summonable, but you bring a different being each time and requires a reaction roll.
  • Mind Bleed (Limitation: Pyramid #3/75: Hero’s Jackpot): Causes you to remember your allies memories sometimes.
  • Minion (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 38): Your ally serves you no matter how you treat them.
  • Special Abilities (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 38): Can represent multiple things: they give you abilities (like how fiction often treats wizard familiars), political clout (your ally is a local big wig and can pull strings), gives you high TL gear (an inventor), etc. Pyramid #3/75: Hero’s Jackpot (p. 19) allow this enhancement to auto-buff your ally if you are or use him to deliever ranged powers.
  • Summonable (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 38): You can conjure your ally from elsewhere. This requires you Concentrate a second. see this post by Kromm for more information.
  • Sympathy (Limitation: GURPS Basic Set, p. 38): Your condition affects your allies condition.
  • Unwilling (Limitation: GURPS Basic Set, p. 38): Your ally isn’t your friend – he works with you because of something you hold over him.

Granular Costs for Allies and Dependents
(This originally appeared as an outtake from my Pyramid article “A Familiar Path” from my designer’s notes. Note, that article is quite useful for creating allies.) GMs wishing for a finer “grain” for the point total of allies or dependents may allow the following, highly optional progression:

Points Built on…

Point Cost as Ally
Point Cost as Dependent:
0% or less of your points
-15 points
5% of your points
0.2 points
-14 points
10% of your points
0.4 points
-13 points
15% of your points
0.6 points
-12 points
20% of your points
0.8 points
-11 points
25% of your points
1 point
-10 points
30% of your points
1.2 points
-9 points
35% of your points
1.4 points
-8 points
40% of your points
1.6 points
-7 points
45% of your points
1.8 points
-6 points
50% of your points
2 points
-5 points
55% of your points
2.2 points
-4.5 points
60% of your points
2.4 points
-4 points
65% of your points
2.6 points
-3 points
70% of your points
2.8 points
-2.5 points
75% of your points
3 points
-2 points
80% of your points
3.4 points
-1.8 points
85% of your points
3.8 points
-1.6 points
90% of your points
4.2 points
-1.4 points
95% of your points
4.6 points
-1.2 points
100% of your points
5 points
-1 points
105% of your points
5.5 points
-0.8 points
110% of your points
6 points
-0.6 points
115% of your points
6.5 points
-0.4 points
120% of your points
7 points
-0.2 points
125% of your points
7.5 points
130% of your points
8 points
135% of your points
8.5 points
140% of your points
9 points
145% of your points
9.5 points
150% of your points
10 points
155% of your points
11 points
160% of your points
12 points
165% of your points
13 points
170% of your points
14 points
175% of your points
15 points
180% of your points
16 points
185% of your points
17 points
190% of your points
18 points
195% of your points
19 points
200% of your points
20 points

New Modifiers for Allies
Some new modifiers I’ve posted on the forums or use in my own game:

  • Cosmic, Customized Ally: You can create your ally’s character sheet just as if he were a PC. Note, that with this enhancement and “Can be played as a PC” you effectively have the Duplication advantage, except you can have radically different abilities! +50% (Note: the GM may decide this requires +100% or +300% cost and should be used with caution!)
  • Projective Ally: When you summon your ally, you disappear when it appears (decide where you go, wherever it is you cannot be damaged as long as you ally is active). This is worth +50%.
  • Signature Ally: Allies can be built with Signature Gear (p. B85) this modifier simply makes it easier to record. +0%
  • Special Abilities (Can be played as PCs): Allows you to play the allies however you wish. From here. +50%.

Example Build: Artistic Summons

Artistic Summons: Cosmic Power 10 (Accessibility, Must draw what you’re going to summon, -10%; Focus-Limited, Anything you can draw, -5%; Immediate Preparation Required, 1 minute (Margin-Limited, -50%), -15%; Reliable 2, +10%; Requires IQ roll, -10%; Trait-Limited, Allies with Minion and Summonable, -50%) [20]. Notes: Allows you to summon anything you can draw with an Artist+2 or IQ+2 roll and a minutes worth of work. This time is reduced by 6 seconds per point by which you succeed on your roll (minimum of 1 second). This being is worth 25% of your points (it’s effectively built as Ally (25% or less; Constant; Minion, +50%; Summonable, +100%) [10]).

Powering it Up:
  • For every 20 points spent you can either summon an additional ally or a more powerful ally (e.g., 2 25% allies or 1 50% ally).
  • For 2 points you can do a quick doodle and your ally appears.
  • For 1 point you get a +1 to your IQ rolls to use your power.
Picking Over the Bones
Like my previous in depth looking at the mechanical construction of a ClairsentienceHealing, Illusion, and Leech, Allies is an interesting ability – if only because it is so versatile with what it can allow.
Posted in GURPS 101 and tagged , , , , , .

One Comment

  1. Great article on Allies, there's one small option that may have been missed for them that comes from Dungeon Fantasy 15: Henchmen from page 28. A single paragraph entitled Appearance Rolls as Loyalty Rolls.

    In and of itself, it is fairly simple. It is an alternate interpretation of the lower-than-usual frequency of appearance rolls that determines how often your ally actually obeys your orders. In exchange for being there constantly, the ally now has the opportunity to ignore you or do his own thing if the loyalty roll is unsuccessful.

    This was expanded just a little bit further in Pyramid 3-70 Fourth Edition Festival in the Ten for Ten article on page 14 explaining how different orders might be interpreted. A warrior could yell for his servant to hand him his blade and would have to roll loyalty each turn until it worked. Or ordering a companion to fight a group of foes, you would only require a single roll at the start of the fight to see if your ally will charge them or run away and surrender. Then there's the final, secret roll, order an ally to stand guard all night and he might stop paying attention and go to sleep if not rolling well enough.

    All in all, an excellent rule if you want to have a constantly there ally on the cheap as long as you're good with occasionally getting into an argument.

    Personally, I find that while it is an optional rule for campaigns, it's better used as a -0% modifier on the Ally advantage in case you want both types of allies in your campaign.

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