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Generic Universal Role Playing System

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What it says on the tin.
In 1986, Steve Jackson Games released the first edition of the GURPS Basic Set. Although the system has roots in Jackson's Melee, Wizard, and The Fantasy Trip, GURPS was developed in direct response to Hero Games' Champions: The Super Roleplaying Game (the original Point Buy game). The name comes from both Steve Jackson's description of what he wanted and the in-house code for the project, "The Great Unnamed Role Playing System". However, when the time came to release the product, they had not been able to come up with a better name for it.
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As a generic system, GURPS has no inherent story or background, although a number of settings have been developed and published specifically for the system, and others have been adapted; see GURPS Settings.

For those curious about where GURPS fits in the taxonomies of game mechanics, GURPS is point-based and skill-based rather than level- and class-based. All tasks are resolved by rolling three six-sided dice, creating a bell-curve of probability instead of a flat line of equal chance.note  Success is awarded if the total of the die roll is equal to or less than a target number, usually a character's skill level. The difficulty of a task is represented by a modifier to the character's skill level, and not by the target number itself. All modifiers can only apply to that target number, and never to the number rolled on the dice.

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In combat, each round represents one second, which is a point of contention among people who argue the merits of roleplaying systems. If you want to do anything in combat that's more complex than moving and attacking, GURPS will require you to describe your tactics in terms of several successive one-second-long maneuvers, and then go through several rounds of combat before you discover what the results are. It can kind of interrupt the flow if you want to play an Exalted-style game full of elaborate stunts. The Fourth Edition supplement GURPS Action was created to remedy this.

GURPS has been described as a "simulationist" system, because it includes lots of rules that tell you what's happening in the game-world without much affecting the outcome of the relevant event. For example, when an attacker succeeds at his roll to hit, the defender always gets to choose how to defend and makes the appropriate defense roll (unless it was a critical hit or a surprise). The defense could be handled as penalties applied to the attack roll, and the odds of dealing damage would be the same—but in that case, should your opponent avoid taking damage, you wouldn't know if it was because you missed entirely, or nearly hit but the defender dodged, or hit too soft to do any damage, or hit hard enough to do damage but your opponent is too much of a badass to notice. This is helpful to game masters narrating the combat because it tells them exactly what to narrate, but it does take longer.

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Perhaps the best feature of GURPS is the huge number of Sourcebooks that have been written for it. Pick any genre or topic, and you will probably find at least one GURPS book covering it (often available in PDF rather than print form these days). Broad categories are covered in genre books; specific settings may receive their own books. In addition to suggestions and notes regarding the topic of the Sourcebook, each volume invariably includes additions to and errata for the basic rules set.note  This has led people to ask why they should buy a so-called "universal system" that requires the purchase of a new rulebook every time the players wish to use that system to play in a new genre. Because of this, GURPS is often compared unfavorably with the Hero System, a universal gaming system whose sourcebooks and supplements have never had to add new rules to the Core Set — though the 4th edition evolution has made such additions less extensive.

On the other hand, new rules aside, many of the supplements are useful enough as setting sourcebooks that people using other Game Systems will occasionally buy them as references; this was, in fact, part of the original mission statement for the game and the reason the "U" stands for "Universal". The opposite is also true; with a little work, most game worlds can be converted to GURPS, usually with an increase in utility and flexibility. The intention was that by building the game around "real world" units of measurement instead of "rounds" and "hexes", it would be easier for people using other systems to make use of the information in the supplements. Of course "real world" in this context means the USA; pounds, feet, yards as originally developed in the UK (international editions, however, are metricated). GURPS Traveller subjects the previously-metric Third Imperium to this Cultural Translation (though the original was also American) on the grounds of "fitting in with existing products". Some 3rd edition products would randomly throw in some metric units anyway, because trying to use two unit systems at the same time always works. As of the fourth edition, official conversions from and to metric units are printed at the beginning of the basic set.

Several GURPS supplements have their own pages; see here for a list.


GURPS provides examples of the following tropes:

  • Abnormal Ammo
    • GURPS: High-Tech has a two-page table of ordinary ammunition. You modify the bullets on that table to make bizarro ammunition. Incendiary shotgun slugs with silver cores? No problem!
    • Ultra-Tech has smart missiles that are stated as characters. Any ability a character can have, and any item a character can carry, can be the payload of a smart missile.
  • Acrofatic
    • Fat characters have no penalty to dexterity, speed, or Acrobatics. They also float well. However, their maximum Health is limited if sufficiently fat, which affects speed slightly, making it more expensive for them to be fast.
    • In 3rd Edition and before your extra weight is counted as part of your character's carrying encumbrance, which does provide penalties to movement and a number of skills. These rules were reworked in the Fourth Edition.
  • Actual Pacifist: The Pacifism (Total Nonviolence) disadvantage.
  • Affectionate Parody: Cliffhangers, Atomic Horror and Tales of the Solar Patrol.
  • After the End:
    • GURPS Reign Of Steel takes place in the aftermath of a Robot War.
    • GURPS Y2K is a good resource for post-apocalyptic and apocalyptic scenarios in general.
    • The new (as of 2016) "quick play" series devoted to post-apocalyptic games is actually named GURPS After the End.
  • The Ageless: Unaging. This means only that the character will never grow older or die of old age; it confers no resistance to disease or harm. Other forms of immortality require additional powers.
  • All Swords Are the Same: The basic set plays this straight, grouping various similar kinds of weapons together. In the Martial Arts and Low-Tech books, however, weapons are only grouped together if they are completely identical, like a Japanese yari and a generic spear.
  • Ancient Conspiracy: More than one sourcebook has detailed the workings of The Illuminati.
    • GURPS Illuminati is more like a genre book than a worldbook, detailing the various ways the GM could use an Ancient Conspiracy to drive a plot and organize a campaign.
    • Conspiracy X in its second edition is a third-party series of GURPS sourcebooks.
    • GURPS Cabal, a setting for third-edition GURPS Horror, is a magical Conspiracy Kitchen Sink
  • Annoying Arrows: Averted, arrows do a lot of damage, and a good archer stands a good chance to bring down even really tough fighters with one or two shots.
  • "Arabian Nights" Days: GURPS Arabian Nights is about roleplaying within this trope, while some lands in the world of GURPS Banestorm reflect it. GURPS Castle Falkenstein: The Ottoman Empire is about a version of the Ottoman Empire, in a Gaslamp Fantasy world, that's very heavy on the Arabian Nights elements. And a few of the universes described in GURPS Infinite Worlds encompass or at least reference the trope.
  • Arbitrary Gun Power: One of the most systematic aversions possible. The closest anyone been able to come to divining the formula used by the authors goes on for pages.
  • Armor Is Useless: Spaceships, at least in 4e, carry weapons that massively overpower armor of their size or smaller. At TL10 a 1000 ton ship can carry enough particle beams in one system to destroy all but the most heavily armored 1000 ton ships in a single turn.
  • Army of the Ages: Eternity's Rangers in GURPS: Time Travel.
  • Artistic License – Economics: Largely averted. Unlike some games, a character's Wealth level is acknowledged and has real effects in game. The default is "average", but you can take less (down to Dead Broke) as a Disadvantage, and Multimillionaire or more as an advantage. How much more? Theoretically, as long as your character survives and earns points, unlimited levels of wealth are possible. Of course, there are some issues:
    • If you take below-average Wealth, your character is stuck in Perpetual Poverty until you earn enough points to buy off the Disadvantage. No matter how much money they acquire in any given adventure, the GM must find a way to take it away. This can be interesting for both players and GM when, for instance, a party of varying Wealth levels finds the Treasure Room.
    • The converse is also true; if you've spent valuable character points to be Fiction 500 rich (at least 150 character points in a game where most characters start with 100 total), a worldwide depression isn't even going to faze your character. Unless of course your friendly neighborhood GM decides it should....
    • Finally, both Disadvantage and Advantage Wealth can be rendered meaningless when your character ventures into another of the Infinite Worlds. Even there, though, a good GM will find a way to enforce both Disadvantage and Advantage, eventually.
  • Artistic License – Martial Arts: The GURPS Martial Arts supplement (being as detail-oriented and versatile as is usual with the system) divides each martial arts style into “realistic” and “cinematic” versions, the latter requiring significant expenditure of character build points on exotic training and granting access to weird and fancy moves and quasi-supernatural effects.
  • Attack Reflector
    • The default Reflective Damage Resistance will actually reflect punches back at the enemy just as well as lasers. But because it's GURPS someone can simply overpower it if you're too far out of your league.
    • The Reverse Missiles spell, which (as the name suggests) only works on projectile attacks.
    • The Challenge magazine #47 article "The Ultra Tech File" had a number of items that couldn't fit in the Ultra Tech supplement. One of them was the Laser Reflector, a computer-controlled mirror used in laser surveying that could be used to reflect an incoming laser beam back at its source.
  • Badass Normal High point characters with no supernatural and/or exotic advantages will inevitably be this, though up to a point increasing the grittiness of the rules can limit it.
  • Battle Strip: Covered by an optional rule called "Bulletproof Nudity".
  • Berserk Button:
    • Multiple ways of giving your character one, most built around the disadvantage Berserk.
    • On the forums, bringing up the Rapid Fire rules will cause mobbing by people trying to fix them.
  • Big Eater: Any character with the Increased Consumption and/or Gluttony disadvantages.
  • Blood Bath: Vampires in GURPS Fantasy can only heal their injuries by bathing in blood.
  • Blood Knight: The Bloodlust disadvantage often makes this a defining character trait.
  • Bold Inflation: Their official style guide notes that the game's title is bold, italicized and all caps (GURPS) and long citations to their own products can get this look.
  • Born Lucky: Serendipity for happy coincidences. Luck allows rerolls and is noted in a few places as being pseudo-realistic for highly skilled people. Super Luck gives the power to completely dictate the outcome of a single action.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick: High-Tech recommends several things that can be laid over barbed wire to provide a safe way to get past it: a log, a sheet of metal or thick plastic, or a body.
  • Bullet-Proof Fashion Plate: One possible use of the Shtick perk.
  • Cast From Stamina: Fatigue Points (FP) are based on the Health stat, and the default magic system has spells drain a certain amount of FP when cast or maintained. Cast from Hit Points is also an option, though it penalizes the skill roll while doing so, and there was a new Advantage called Energy Reserve introduced in GURPS: Powers that allows a spellcaster to use a separate energy source which is not impacted by health or strength and cannot be externally depleted by enemy attack. Energy Reserve refills simultaneously with Fatigue Points, and so a wizard who has it is likely to mix both for the sake of efficiency.
  • "Cavemen vs. Astronauts" Debate: The system is great for resolving these, although it will also create zillions of disagreements about what kinds of knives the cavemen have access to.
  • Celibate Hero:
    • The Vow of Chastity can be this or a Chaste Hero, depending on what other disadvantages are taken.
    • A common aspect of some Codes of Honor.
  • Chandelier Swing: The 3rd edition supplement Swashbucklers had extensive rules on swinging from chandeliers.
  • Chaotic Stupid: The Trickster disadvantage can cause this.
  • Character Customization: The game is constructed in such a fashion that you can make ANY CHARACTER as long as you can quantify what they can do. One famous example is the "intelligent blueberry muffin".
  • Chunky Salsa Rule: If a character is damaged to -10x HP, they are not only dead (which occurs automatically at -5x HP if they don't die sooner) but destroyed. Exactly what this means depends on the source of the damage, from total incineration or dissolution for fire or acid, to merely being very very much pincushioned by arrows. This will often preclude means of resurrection that require a recoverable body.
  • Clark Kenting: The "Masked" perk.
  • Clap Your Hands If You Believe: True Faith prevents anything "evil" from coming within a yard of you.
  • Cloud Cuckoo Lander: The highest level of Delusion makes you into this.
  • Colonized Solar System: In the Terradyne setting, the Moon has a pressurized city (Luna City) which is the capital of the titular Mega-Corp turned empire. This setting was effectively replaced with Transhuman Space in 2002.
  • Combinatorial Explosion: The treasure tables in the splatbooks aren't unusually long, but there are a lot of modifiers that can be applied to said treasure, and those modifiers can usually be stacked. So a generic "armor table" extends to cover helms, animal armor, and everything else that might protect your skin.
    • The stand-out example of a combinatorial multiplier is GURPS' massively excessive number of hit locations, which go down to individual fingers and consider the head, the eyes, and the brain to be different 'targets', for instance. (Though using hit locations at all is strictly an optional rule, and even the most nit-pickingly detailed 4th edition games will rarely feature more than a dozen possible locations.) This adds up quickly to potentially over fifty hit locations per person, which multiplies the entire armor table directly (with rules causing armor for various locations to be altered with different values), weapons (with various types having different modifiers for different hit locations), and pretty much the entire power list and combat-applicable skill table, and to some extent even the health table. There is a reason most house rules run along the lines of "all armored jackets have sleeves of the same armor value" and "there are no such things as fingerless gloves".
    • The Dungeon Fantasy supplement on treasure claims to have eighty trillion possible treasures. Accomplished by having each table tell the GM to select another table to roll on.
    • Powers adds several pages of generic modifiers that cause the same effect with advantages.
  • The Conspiracy: Steve Jackson Games is quite big on conspiracy gaming in general, and GURPS Illuminati is an invaluable resource when it comes to such games.
  • Conspiracy Theorist: There's a skill for this.
  • Contrived Coincidence: Serendipity lets you, the player, specify a random event that would be helpful to you, the character, and have it happen. Likewise, Gizmo lets you just happen to have brought the right gear for the problem in hand — while Cursed is a disadvantage for people who suffer from bad coincidences. Such features are there to let you play the sort of fictional characters who seem to be pawns of fate.
  • Crazy-Prepared:
    • You can make character sheets for just about anything, like plants and planets. Some GMs like to do this for pretty much every obstacle the players might encounter. There are also Techniques, a way to brush up on a specific aspect of a skill; meticulous players can use these to "buy off" any penalty they might have to roll against.
    • Gizmos can be used to retroactively become Crazy-Prepared.
    • A good roll against Tactics skill at the start of a battle means your character thought ahead, so you get an advantageous starting position.
    • The Traps skill is just as good for setting traps as disarming them.
  • Critical Existence Failure
    • Averted. When you're below 1/3 HP, you can only move half as fast as usual, which makes you easier to hit. When you're below 0 HP, you have to roll your health every turn to do anything at all without collapsing. But game masters who want cinematic hack'n'slash games often just ignore this when it's inconvenient.
    • Affliction: Heart Attack will make your character roll against HT. If your character fails, he or she dies in a few minutes. Within those minutes, he or she can be resuscitated... unless the affliction was Irresistible.
  • Crystal Skull: In the Warehouse 23 supplement.
  • Damage Reduction:
    • The primary benefit of wearing/installing armor is reducing damage received when your other defences fail you. DR is also an advantage that can be purchased by characters, races, etc. One to three points of damage reduction seems to be the "realistic" limit for natural DR, possessed by real animals with thick hides/scales or purchasable by players without needing specific GM approval. Previous versions featured the Toughness advantage, a more expensive DR with a two point Cap specifically for human use, with the base advantage restricted to supers or races.
    • Armor piercing attacks generally take the form of a divisor, reducing DR by half or more.
    • The Damage reduction advantage also has a host of options to modify its function, in particular conjunction with Damage Typing. The advantage could be used to simulate anything from thick skin to magical resistance against a given element to an ablative force field that needs recharging.
  • Damage Typing:
    • Nearly every possible way it could be handled. There's burning, corrosion, crushing, cutting, impaling, small piercing, piercing, large piercing, huge piercing and toxic. All damage types will end up reducing the victim's hit points—you don't have to track damage separately for the different types—but some damage types give a multiplier to the amount of damage that gets through the victim's armor. Further, some kinds of armor give varying amounts of protection depending on what sort of damage they are protecting from. On top of that there are also attacks that damage fatigue points, making characters more exhausted rather than damaged. Then after all of that it also handles radiation damage as a sort of hybrid between the other types of damage. In short, rules for every possible way one could cause damage and different ways characters are expected to react to them.
    • The Supernatural Durability Advantage is basically custom made for this trope.
  • Dance Battler: The Dancing skill can be used to feint or even kick enemies in melee combat.
  • Determinator: Stronger characters in good physical condition can take enough damage that would kill lesser characters outright.
  • Devolution Device: Supplement Warehouse 23. one of the devices stored in the Warehouse is the Devolvo Ray. It fires a beam that causes a living target to move back along the chain of evolution, causing it to become its own ancestor. For example, a human being hit by the ray would become a Cro-Magnon, then a Neanderthal, and so on. If the ray keeps hitting the target for long enough, it will become a pool of primordial slime.
  • Diving Save: Possible by combining dodge and drop with sacrificial dodge. If the dodge is good enough the rescuer can escape harm too.
  • Dodge the Bullet: Sort of. You can use the Dodge defense against bullets but it doesn't strictly represent dodging. Most moving things get a Dodge stats to represent that fact that they're not perfectly predictable.
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That: The "Berserk" disadvantage, in addition to everything else the disadvantage entails (rabidly attacking every enemy on hand with whatever weapon is on hand), also conveys this, treating anyone trying to restrain the character, friend or enemy, as an enemy. Earlier editions nicknamed the berserker rage "the Doom of the North" for this very reason.
  • The Dragons Come Back: GURPS Dragons, a whole book about handling almost the whole range of Dragon Tropes in the game, has a full sample campaign setting and some short example setting descriptions built around the idea of dragons returning to the game world.
    • In the main scenario, dragons appear in 1878 for reasons no-one — including the dragons — understands. Between a few hundred and a few thousand dragons simply wake into existence with a knowledge of language, a strong self-preservation instinct and no idea what or where they might have been beforehand. These dragons can take human forms and live in secret to avoid the attention of humanity, and several conspiracies develop to expose or study the dragons or to keep them hidden — several of the latter run by the dragons themselves. Theories on their origins range from them having emerged from a magical hibernation to their being Tulpas manifested from humanity's collective thoughts, ghosts of ancient dinosaurs released from the mining of fossil fuels and demons clad in flesh.
    • Secondary scenarios project the same basic premise into later epochs such as the 20s, World War II, the Cold War and the modern day. Story prompts include Pulp-style conflicts between lantern-jawed heroes and dragons seeking world conquest, spy stories against secret string-pulling draconic masterminds, and modern-day stories where the dragons have successfully gone underground behind layers of secrecy, obfuscation and historical revisionism to hide from human scrutiny.
    • Another setting, while without actual dragons, describes a world where magic quietly vanished in the late middle ages, taking with it most of the totem spirits that had fueled magic beforehand. This lasts until the 90s, when a scholar stumbles upon a scroll describing the Dragon totem. This one appears to be the only totem left in existence, and its knowledge quickly spreads across the world to fuel a new age of dragon-powered magic.
  • Dueling Hackers: GURPS rules for deckers showed up in a Pyramid article on cyberpunk.
  • Dying Race: In 3e there was actually a disadvantage called "Dying Race". It didn't really affect gameplay and was mostly for flavor, so it was turned into a subset of Social Stigma in the next edition.
  • Early Installment Weirdness: The 1st and 2nd editions didn't quite live up to the "Universal" in the title, being heavily oriented towards a low fantasy setting like its spiritual precursor The Fantasy Trip, with only rudimentary firearms rules, and magic spells, psionics, and superpowers in separate supplements. This improved in the 3rd Edition, especially after the release of the first Compendium, and the system finally became truly integrated in the 4th Edition.
  • Eats Babies: Restricted Diet (Occasional) might restrict your diet to any of "Virgin's blood, rocket fuel, babies, radioactives."
  • Eldritch Abomination:
    • GURPS: Fantasy treats Tiamut as this, giving stats for a minor avatar of hers that, while not particularly odd looking (it's an enormous dragon with four eyes), can still cause terror from just looking at it. Said avatar automatically regenerates every year, making the effort of trying to kill it futile. To get rid of it permanently, you'd have to track down and kill the real Tiamut... who is half the size of the universe (about 2.24* 10^18 Hit Points), so good luck with that. There's even a Lovecraft quote after the stat block.
    • The game has a few more from different settings and splatbooks: GURPS: Cabal, with its cosmology based on the qabbalah's Sephirot, has the creatures of Qlipoth and its Ur-Lords; Creatures of the Night has the godlike Betweeners, the force called "the darksome", which is responsible for the creation of the literal organ-farmer Darklings, and many of the non-undead creatures described; a few licenced settings (like Cthulhupunk and The War Against the Chtorr) have their own native abominations; and Infinite Worlds, the meta-setting that ties The Multiverse together, not only makes all the previous settings inter-accessible, but also has at least one world (Taft-7) where humanity never evolved in the first place because of Great Old One (or similar) influence 50 million years back - and although they're long gone, they left enough "Fun Stuff" behind (and the risk of attracting their attention is great enough) for the agencies overseeing interdimensional travel to quarantine the world from any travel there whatever the reason.
    • GURPS newsletter Roleplayer #10 (May 1988), adventure "The Isle of Night". T'Soquat is a minor Thing That Man Was Not Meant To Know. It resembles a giant lobster with pale gray-green skin and glowing red eyes. It has an acidic secretion Super Spit, Super Strength and large Power Pincers, and each Human Sacrifice it receives improves its defenses against being harmed.
  • Elemental Punch: Innate Attacks, when limited to touch range, give a character this power.
  • Empathic Weapon: You can even play them if you want to.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin: This roleplaying system is generic. Its core rules are universally applicable.
  • Extreme Doormat:
    • The "Slave Mentality" disadvantage turns your character into this. For this reason, it tends to be only used on NPC slaves, some AI, zombies, golems and the like.
    • There is also the Minion enhancement to the Allies advantage, which ensures the complete loyalty of the character's allies no matter what.
  • Expospeak Gag: Extreme Sexual Dimorphism.
  • The Fair Folk: Covered in GURPS Faerie, among other places.
  • Fearless Undead: The default undead templates always include Unfazeable.
  • Feathered Dragons: GURPS Fantasy Bestiary includes aitvaras in its dragon section, depicted as dragons with the heads and wings of roosters.
  • Fiction as Cover-Up: In GURPS Illuminati, the Conspiracy encourages the Weekly World News and similar publications to write up stories about conspiracy so that the Serious Press won't believe them.
  • Flechette Storm: The "Storm Shuriken" becomes this when thrown.
  • Food Chain of Evil: One of the backstory options presented in GURPS Dragons for a campaign setting where dragons have overrun a fantasy world is based on the dangers of tampering with such food chains. In this case, dragons normally produce huge numbers of offspring that another species of monster habitually preys on, keeping their numbers very low. Then the dragon-eating monsters are wiped out by humanoids who see them as threats, and, well...
  • Freeze Ray: A device of the alien Greys, found in the 3rd edition supplement Warehouse 23.
  • Friend to All Living Things: Having the Animal Empathy advantage gives this quality.
  • Fun with Acronyms:
    • The High Explosive Multi Purpose warhead from Ultra-Tech.
    • The Basic Abstract Difficulty from Action.
    • GURPS itself originally stood for "The Great Unnamed Role Playing System"
  • Gadgeteer Genius: The "Gadgeteer" makes your character into one, also the "Quick Gadgeteer" advantage lets you do the same, but with less time and resources.
  • Genericist Government: Government regulations are represented by Control Ratings. If the CR is greater than the Legality Class of an item or action, you roll a die against the difference between the CR and the LC to decide if it's legal.
  • Genre-Busting: Most volumes come with tips on how to use other volumes with them.
  • Gun Porn
    • GURPS: High-Tech has details for a huge number of guns.
    • Tactical Shooting, the two volumes of Pulp Guns, and SEALs in Vietnam add even more.
  • Hack and Slash: The Dungeon Fantasy book is for when you want to roll back GURPS to the days where adventurers looted tombs for no reason other than random treasure. It's notable for showing their work as much as they do anywhere else, and explicitly banning any abilities (such as teleportation or great wealth) that work against dungeon-crawling.
  • Hard-Coded Hostility: In GURPS War Against The Chtorr, as in the novels it's based on, there is no way to communicate or negotiate with the alien ecosystem and giant man-eating worms invading and un-terraforming Earth. It's either kill, or be eaten.
  • Hearing Voices: Phantom Voices allows for various types of this.
  • Heroic Ambidexterity: Ambidexterity is a perk which allows you to Dual Wield weapons much more efficiently than otherwise, even if you're already trained for it.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: The supplement/setting book The Madness Dossier has this trope baked into the game mechanics. The heroic “Sandmen” are fighting the utterly inhuman and monstrous Anunnaki, but can only hope to win if they not only maintain absolute secrecy, memory-wiping and brainwashing any bystanders who blunder into their operations, but also study and employ Anunnaki powers (such as brainwashing). But it’s inherently impossible to use Anunnaki powers without thinking like them. The best that the Sandman psychologists can do is divert callousness and cruelty into fanaticism for the Sandman cause.
  • Historical Domain Character: Some of the sourcebooks give stats for such people:
    • GURPS Arabian Nights, for example, stats up Salah ad-Din (AKA Saladin).
    • GURPS Who's Who 1 and 2 are all about this trope.
  • Historical Fantasy: Many of the historical sourcebooks include period folklore to allow a Historical Fantasy setting.
  • Hollywood Hacking: The Computer Hacking skill. The description notes a bunch of other skills that you'd want to use to hack a realistic computer.
  • Homing Projectiles: Can be bought as equipment, stat’ed as characters, or be magically imbued into otherwise normal equipment.
  • Hopeless with Tech: Uselessness with technology is the effective result of the “Low TL” disadvantage, which actually represents unfamiliarity with a setting’s general level of tech (so one could be perfectly competent with seriously out-of-date gear). It’s also possible to take “Incompetence” quirks indicating ineptitude with specific technological skills.
  • Horn Attack: The Fetch in GURPS Myth can butt with their horns.
  • Human Sacrifice: GURPS newsletter Roleplayer #10 (May 1988), adventure "The Isle of Night". Colonel Fitzhugh has been possessed by the spirit of the Wizard-Chief of the island natives. He tries to summon the Eldritch Abomination T'Soquat into our world and sacrifice his daughter Alicia to it.
  • Humongous Mecha: GURPS: Mecha, Ultra-Tech, etc.
  • Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy: An optional rule is the Trope Namer.
  • Impossible Item Drop: Parodied in GURPS: Creatures of the Night which includes a completely immobile plant monster that comes complete with a treasure trove full of things that are useful when trying to kill plant monsters. Why? Because it enjoys murdering adventurers and taking their stuff (which it then buries somehow).
  • In a Single Bound: Here called Super Jump.
  • Initialism Title: The source of the game name.
  • Intrinsic Vow: GURPS Castle Falkenstein. If a Faerie uses Enchantment or a Pixie uses Love Charm and asks the victim to do something against their basic beliefs, the victim can resist the effect.
  • Island Base: GURPS Illuminati. One potential location for the Illuminati main base is on a private secret island that has been erased from the world's maps, possibly in the Bermuda Triangle.
  • Jungle Opera: Cliffhangers
  • Kinetic Weapons Are Just Better: To an extent. Beam weapons do less basic damage than projectile weapons because the developers scale the damage differently. On the other hand beam weapons are usually better at bypassing a target's armor.
  • Lawful Stupid
    • The Honesty disadvantage can encourage this. Though the character can break the law if he makes his control roll for the disadvantage, permitting characters with less severe "Honesty"
    • Codes of Honor/Conduct can also lead to this type of behavior.
  • Leeroy Jenkins: As noted in several places here, GURPS begins with a premise of "realism;" i.e. Killed Off for Real is fairly easy, Back from the Dead, not so much (if at all). Nonetheless, the creators seem to love Leeroying inasmuch as there are so many Disadvantages that can produce it:
    • Berserk: You must roll to avoid Leeroying any time you take 3 or more hits in one turn, or under "Other conditions of extreme stress (GM's option)" — i.e. pretty much in any combat.
    • Bloodlust: You must roll to avoid Leeroying any time you have a chance to kill a "legitimate enemy" — i.e. pretty much in any combat.
    • Impulsiveness: You must roll to avoid Leeroying any time the rest of the party are taking too long discussing something — i.e. pretty much before any combat.
    • On the Edge: You must roll to avoid Leeroying any time you have a chance to deliberately put yourself in mortal danger — i.e. pretty much in any combat.
    • Overconfidence: You must roll to avoid Leeroying any time you feel yourself a match, or more than a match, for your opponent — i.e. pretty much in any combat.
  • Like Reality Unless Noted
    • GURPS tries to be realistic, and games using the default rules will be fairly gritty. But if you enable the relevant optional rules, and buy "cinematic" traits, you'll bring the game away from reality and toward the genre of your choice.
    • The common term among fans is that GURPS presents a "gameable abstraction", the more realism you insist on the harder it is to actually play the game. Forums posts are nonetheless full of people trying to make things more realistic.
  • Loads and Loads of Rules: Most of them are described as "optional" in the books. Hardly anyone really plays the game with only the mandatory rules, so to get a game started, the game master needs to make a list of the optional rules he wants to use.
  • Long List: Most of the character creation "rules" are really menus of traits that characters can have. Enormous menus. There are over four hundred skills! Of course, only a few of those will be useful for a particular game, so GMs regularly make their own less-intimidating lists, perhaps in the trait sorter.
  • Made of Bologna: Invoked by a powerful Advantage called "No Internal Organs." This means a character never suffers from complicated medical problems, because their interior becomes uniform undifferentiated tissue.
  • Magic A Is Magic A: The sourcebook GURPS Thaumatology exists entirely to handle strange and unusual magic systems.
  • Magic Knight: Being a classless system it is very easy to make character that fits this description
  • Mama Bear: A sidebar in GURPS Bestiary makes it very clear why you shouldn't get between a mother animal and her young.
  • Mass Super-Empowering Event: Wild Card Day in Wildcards brought super powers to the world.
  • The Men in Black: They appear in several add-on books.
    • GURPS: Illuminati has a chapter devoted to them.
    • In GURPS: Horror, they can get access to the "State" powerset.
    • In GURPS: Monster Hunters there are provisions for playing The Men in Black.
    • GURPS: Black Ops for Third Edition was a whole campaign setting specifically for The Men in Black.
    • The Men in Black is also the name Steve Jackson Games uses for its volunteer game demonstrators (such as at conventions and other gatherings).
  • Mirror Chemistry: One of the entries on the "something went wrong with our dimension-traveling device" chart in GURPS Time Travel.
  • Muggle with a Degree in Magic: In a Low or Normal Mana world only characters with the Magery advantage can cast spells. Because the standard magical system treats spells as skills like any other, it's entirely possible for characters without Magery to learn spells, even if they can't cast them. The Thaumatology skill represents a knowledge of the underlying structure of magic, and likewise does not require Magery or spellcasting ability.
  • Multi-Armed Multitasking: You can take the "Multiple Arms" advantage, though you then need to buy special coordination to use them for anything other than holding stuff.
  • Multishot: Appears in Imbuements.
    "If your skill is high enough to deal with -18, you’re certainly welcome to try for a RoF 20 bowshot!"
  • Multiple Persuasion Modes: The skills Carousing, Diplomacy, the Enthrallment group (Captivate, Persuade, Suggest, and Sway Emotions) done by fantasy bards, Erotic Art, Fast-Talk, Hypnotism, Leadership, Merchant, Musical Influence (cinematic), and Public Speaking.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: Can be played straight or subverted.
  • Neck Snap: an option for grappling, requires high strength or some training to pull off.
  • New Powers as the Plot Demands: Modular Abilities is made for this trope.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot: Making these characters is what the system specializes in.
  • Non-Human Undead: The Zombie Vehicle spell, which is designed with spaceships in mind.
  • No Sense of Humor: Available as a disadvantage.
  • No Such Thing as Bad Publicity: Invoked. On the front of GURPS Cyberpunk, the writers advertised that the game had been seized by the Secret Service, and an interior section mentioned the circumstances (the Secret Service had called it "a handbook for computer crime"). Of course something like this is going to be free advertising.
  • Not Quite Flight: The Flight advantage has a lot of different ways to make it likes this; also, telekinesis can be used for locomotion, and there is the Walk On Air advantage.
  • Omnidisciplinary Scientist: While realistic games handle the various subdivisions of the sciences by means of an extensive skill list and rules for specialisation, omnidisciplinary scientists appear in more cinematic games by means of the Science! skill. The exclamation point is key. The game’s 4th edition introduced “wildcard” skills in other fields, such as Detective!, Gun!, Music!, and Sword!.
  • One-Hit Kill: A radioactive attack that hits someone for 4000 rads gives them one HT roll to survive but if they manage a Critical Success... they die slightly differently.
  • One Password Attempt Ever: In the Warehouse 23 supplement, anyone trying to log on to the Warehouse's computer remotely must input two separate passwords. If the second password is incorrect the computer assumes that an intrusion is taking place and doesn't give the intruder another chance.
  • Only Flesh Is Safe: Spells from the College of Making and Breaking will only affect inanimate objects.
  • Our Centaurs Are Different: Onocentaurs in 3E Fantasy Folk.
  • Our Dragons Are Different:
    • GURPS has a sourcebook detailing a wide range of dragon types, with game stats, physiology, and abilities — called GURPS Dragons, funnily enough. It gives an overview of dragons' history in mythology, describes a number of types — subdivided into limbless, snakelike wyrms, including two-legged lindorms and winged serpents; four-limbed wyverns; classic western dragons, including wingless varieties and ice dragons; sea serpents; and eastern dragons, including the growth stages of dragons who begin life as carps, various types of dragons holding authority over different parts of nature, and dragon turtles — their enemies and foes, and how they might play out as antagonists, allies, powerful NPCs and player characters. It also explores several scenarios in which The Dragons Come Back.
    • GURPS Fantasy Bestiary includes a section dedicated specifically to dragons, and describes several types:
      • Firedrakes are the standard Western dragon — Long-Lived, four-legged, winged, fire-breathing terrors, intelligent and capable of speech and powerful magic but chiefly concerned with hunting and hoarding treasure. They hatch already the size of an adult man and keep growing throughout their lives. They don't grow weak or senile, and only become stronger and wiser as they age. They're even said to never die of old age at all. Luckily for other creatures, they're not common — it takes a lot of prey to keep one fed, and they also experience high mortality rates as hatchlings.
      • Chinese dragons, or lungs, are also covered at length. They have features from almost ever animal — except tigers, their mortal enemies — pearls under their chins and magical growths on their foreheads that allow them to fly. Only the males have horns and whiskers. They are strongly associated with water — they typically live in deep pools and underwater caves or behind waterfalls — are adept shapeshifters and their temperament varies depending on whether they lean more towards Yin and Yang: when Yang is dominant, they are preservers and protectors; when Yin is dominant, they are destroyers.
      • Several types of lung exist. Kioh-Lung are the youngest of their kind, have not yet grown horns or back legs and mature into one of the various kinds of adult dragons at 500 years of age. Li Lung are the least magical of these, resemble dragon-headed lions who fly with physical wings, cannot breathe water and can cause earthquakes. Lung Wang resemble giant dragon-headed turtles, and live in the ocean. P'an Lung are slender, serpentine creatures that live in the sky and can control rain. Shen Lung rule over freshwater, are immune to poison and can make people supernaturally lucky or unlucky. P'an Lung and Shen Lung speak the same language, and can create "water fire" that can only be put out with regular fire.
      • Other types of dragon include rooster-like, mace-tailed aitvaras; azhi dahaka, evil, three-headed legless dragons with a different Breath Weapon for each head; the seven-headed, snakelike and maiden-eating herren-surge; the kakutan, which resembles a horse with a dragon's head; snake-headed, eagle-legged and scorpion-tailed mushussus; aquatic, fishlike tarasques; worms or wyrms, wingless creatures closely related to firedrakes and able to breathe out clouds of poison gas; and animalistic, stinger-tailed wyverns.
  • Our Dwarves Are All the Same: As a generic system, GURPS can potentially handle any sort of dwarf — but its writers have mostly stuck to the established standard.
    • Dwarves in GURPS Banestorm, the main official GURPS fantasy setting, are a race of natural artificers and merchants. Most adults have at least one point worth of personal "signature gear".
    • GURPS Fantasy offers another variant of the same type.
    • In the GURPS predecessor The Fantasy Trip, dwarves were straight out of the Tolkienian mold. However, some details (mostly concerning dwarf women) were left unspecified, meaning that players could form their own conclusions.
  • Our Fairies Are Different: Fairies in GURPS: Fantasy are living illusions. Their magic can be as easily destroyed by iron as they are. Of course, due to the modular nature of GURPS, Fairies can be built in countless other ways resembling other examples on this page.
  • Our Ghouls Are Creepier: Ghouls in GURPS: Fantasy are a complete race who are indistinguishable from normal humans until they try to eat you. The only thing they can eat is human flesh; all other foods are dangerous to them.
  • Our Gnomes Are Weirder: Gnomes in GURPS Dungeon Fantasy look similar to thin dwarves and are expert craftsmen. Their entry also notes the possible existence of Hell Gnomes.
  • Our Goblins Are Different: Several takes on goblins are present in the various books. For example:
    • GURPS Goblins features an entire alternate Earth exactly like ours circa the 1830s, but inhabited only by goblins — a parody of Regency England. These particular goblins are extremely varied, being shaped by the exact forms of mistreatment they suffer in childhood, but are alike in being base, crude, and vulgar, as well as standing up to cartoon levels of interpersonal violence.
    • GURPS Banestorm features goblins as short, green humanoids, immigrants from the mostly arid desert world of Gabrook. They are intelligent, civilized and naturally curious, and actually fit well enough into human society. Hobgoblins are their larger, dumber cousins; while a few live among goblins as servants, most remain hunter-gatherers living in small bands in the wilderness.
  • Our Gryphons Are Different: GURPS Fantasy Bestiary includes gryphons and hippogriffs, both of which fly through the use of Mana stored in their feathers.
  • Our Homunculi Are Different: Homunculi in GURPS: Magic must live in bottles because they are so ridiculously vulnerable that they can be killed by harsh light.
  • Our Perytons Are Different: In GURPS Fantasy Bestiary, perytons are winged deer that attack humans on sight, diving on them from the air in attempts to gore them with their antlers and fighting mercilessly and to the death. Because they cast human shadows, and because of their habit of only killing one human each in any given attack and wallowing in the remains, they are thought to be the souls of particularly bloodthirsty humans, and that killing a living human is the only way they can regain their previous forms.
  • Our Werewolves Are Different:
    • An optional werewolf template is an uncontrollable problem triggered by the full moon. They're very hard to kill but curiously don't have any special level of strength like most werewolves.
    • In the Banestorm setting, people so afflicted turn into actual wolves. It's also not contagious; either you or an ancestor has to have been specifically cursed.
  • Our Wyverns Are Different: GURPS Dragons and GURPS Fantasy Bestiary include four-limbed wyverns as one of the several subtypes of dragons they describe.
    • They have no breath weapons but possess poisonous barbs at the end of their long tails. They are clumsy walkers but frighteningly fast fliers, and thus prefer to attack targets from the air. They're largely animals, although smart ones, and the book notes that all-dragon campaigns might use them as pets or attack dogs for dragon characters; GURPS Fantasy Bestiary further describes them as dragon-like, but as not actually being dragons. Variations include one able to shoot quills from its tail.
    • GURPS Dragons notes their origins in medieval heraldry, and speculates that, since explicit wyverns appear almost always in heraldry, modern fantasy wyverns likely originated from people noticing them in crests and coats of arms and deciding they looked interesting enough to include as in-game creatures.
  • Pants-Positive Safety: A perk is the Trope Namer.
  • People Jars: GURPS Bio-Tech has stats for this item.
  • Pinball Projectile: It's a bouncing grenade shaped like a Frisbee!
  • Plot Hole: Yes, there's a trait for this: Gizmo allows you to retroactively have always been carrying a small useful item, regardless of how little sense it makes. You can still be carrying the item even if you were strip-searched recently. Serendipity allows you to get even more arbitrary.
  • Point Build System: Leader of the pack in this regard.
  • Power Armor: Battle suits in the basic set, and Ultra-Tech has a few new flavors.
  • Power Pincers: GURPS newsletter Roleplayer #10 (May 1988), adventure "The Isle of Night". The Eldritch Abomination T'Soquat has large claws that can do 4-14 Hit Points of damage. If the spell to summon it succeeds, the native villagers under its control will transform and their hands will become claws that do 1-6 Hit Points of damage.
  • Practical Currency: "Bullets" (that is, rifle caliber cartridges) in After the End are both currency and ammunition.
  • Protective Charm
  • Psychic Block Defense: The Mind Shield advantage and the Mind Block skill.
  • Psychic Powers: A whole chapter is dedicated to explaining how to modify advantages and disadvantages to become these, and how to build characters that use them effectively
  • Ranked by I.Q.: The game uses "IQ" as the short-form name of the Intelligence stat — a measure of all forms of intelligence, independent of culture or species — although it has barely any relation to actual measures of IQ. Apparently it wasn't meant to.
  • Rapid Aging: Challenge magazine #47 article "The Ultra-Tech File". If it works, the 2 day long Rejuvenation process lowers the character's age. If the process suffers a critical failure, the recipient's age increases by 6-36 years.
  • Raygun Gothic: Tales of the Solar Patrol covers Flash Gordon and Buck Rogers-type space exploration, while Atomic Horror covers the aesthetic of the 1950's B movie, such as radioactive giant insects, flying saucers, man-eating plants and the like.
  • Reactionless Drive: Five different types in the Spaceships supplement.
  • Really Gets Around: The Lecherousness disadvantage.
  • Recycled In Space:
    • Any setting + GURPS Space = Any Setting IN SPACE!
    • A pastime of some GURPS aficionados is grabbing three random GURPS sourcebooks and making a gameworld out of them.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning
    • Fantasy Folk. Minotaurs have the disadvantages Berserk, Bloodlust, Intolerance, and Savage. They're aggressively antisocial and eat other sentient creatures. They also have red eyes.
    • Conan: Moon of Blood. The swamp devils have eyes as red as coals of living fire, and the chaken (ape men) have flaming red eyes.
    • GURPS newsletter Roleplayer #10 (May 1988), adventure "The Isle of Night". The extremely evil Eldritch Abomination T'Soquat and its minions have glowing red eyes.
  • Religious Robot: C-31 became a Buddhist monk.
  • Retcon: In various forms:
    • The introduction of sheath rules in 4e to explain why swords were so heavy.
    • Reality Quakes and Ontoclysms are mentioned as having this effect in Infinite Worlds and are "especially common in words with superhumans".
  • Rules Conversions: Even if GURPS doesn't have the sourcebook you want, someone has probably made a conversion guide for it.
  • Rule of Cool:
    • "When in doubt, roll and shout!" Book 2 of the Basic Set includes some guidelines for how to fudge modifiers when the action is too awesome for looking things up in tables.
    • The Daredevil advantage gives a bonus to all rolls made in situations where you're taking unnecessary risks - and preserves you from suffering a critical failure - because that makes you cool
    • For one point, you can buy a "Schtick," which allows you to define a Character Tic, and then guarantees that you'll always be able to do that, even when you'd expect it to be impossible: run in high heels across rough terrain at no penalty, for instance, or keep your clothes clean and cool while swimming in the wilderness.
  • Rule Playing: If you buy too many Obsessions, Phobias, or Duties.
  • Running Gag: After many years of waiting, the 4e Low-Tech supplement gained an extensive mythology due to the number of questions for which the offical answer was "It will be in Low-Tech". Not only would it answer all of your questions about GURPS, it would contain the cure for cancer and be hand delivered by Jesus. Then it appeared and the joke went away.
  • Sapient Cetaceans: Seen in some settings.
    • The Transhuman Space setting plays with this, especially in the deep-sea sourcebook Under Pressure. On the one hand there are "Cetanists"; "Ghosts" and AIs who believe in the intelligence and spirituality of whales and dolphins, and express this by wearing dolphin bioshells (biological bodies that can run an AI or Ghost) and joining a pod. On the other hand, there are actual dolphins; who are certainly bright enough that translator software works, but are also bullies, mildly sociopathic and, in short, wild animals. And on the third hand there are Doolittles and Delphi; dolphins who've been uplifted, but who often have the same "personality disorders" (by human standards) as their wild kin. They also find Cetanists a bit disturbing. And then there's Coak, a Delphi who wishes he was a normal dolphin to the extent that he now runs an anti-uplift terrorist organisation.
    • There is also the GURPS adaptation of the Uplift setting, wherein "Fins" (Uplifted Dolphins) are a playable species, complete with the tech from the books that lets them operate out of water.
  • Sapient Tank: Shows up in Reign Of Steel and OGRE, and can be a player character in the right games.
  • Scoundrel Code: The game offers a Pirate's Code of Honor in addition to the more standard types. It is, needless to say, less restrictive.
  • Serial Escalation: Almost any character from any setting can be made into a player character in GURPS (with enough points).
  • Sharpened to a Single Atom: Superfine blades divide damage resistance by two. Monowire blades divide damage resistance by ten. Nanothorn blades divide damage resistance by ten and shred the bonds that hold the atoms in molecules together.
  • Shout Out: With this many supplements, quite a few authors can be expected to have indulged in shouting out; see the games shout-outs page. Examples occur in International Super Teams, Steam-Tech and Illuminati, just to start with. One notable instance; in Fantasy II: the Madlands the terrifying Eldritch Abomination gods are based off the characters from Winnie-the-Pooh.
  • Shown Their Work: GURPS sourcebooks are notorious for how complete they are, in many cases the setting and research in them is used by gamers using other systems because of how well written they tend to be. The third edition Bio-Tech book, published in 2002, was noted to be as up to date on real world Biotech as some college textbooks on the issue, by a variety of professionals in the field. The Transhuman Space supplement Deep Beyond includes calculations about the conditions on the Galilean moons and Titan from the space scientist who co-wrote the book ... and details were in GURPS before they hit print in the academic journals. And in 1997, the Camelot sourcebook actually ended up on the recommended reading list for a course in Arthurian Literature at Indiana University.
  • Sliding Scale of Turn Realism: Second by Second. But using Action it's Turn by Turn and using Spaceships or Mass Combat it's Round by Round.
  • Sourcebook: Two hundred sourcebooks!
  • Space Fighter: GURPS: Spaceships has a supplement that covers fighters. The samples culminate in the Mirage Star Fighter which is so loaded with super science it might as well be Made of Phlebotinum.
  • The Spark of Genius: Appears in I.O.U. and GURPS Supers.
  • Spell Crafting: The game offers several varieties of magic that work this way, with differing rules about creating spells. Notable forms include Ritual Path Magic, which assigns various types of effects to Paths of magic each of which is bought as a skill, and Syntactic Magic, where Nouns and Verbs are magical skills, and spells are built out of combinations of them.
  • Square-Cube Law
    • Actually taken into account when making characters, larger characters can purchase Strength more cheaply, but have a higher minimum, and with the higher Strength a character gets a higher mass, the weight and size tables also support this data.
    • The Growth advantage uses what could be called the square/square law: strength measured in weight you can lift only needs to scale with the square of height. Probably falls under Acceptable Breaks from Reality, since Growth already blatantly violates conservation of mass/energy.
  • Squishy Wizard: generally averted, but can be played straight, as characters with lots of exotic supernatural powers rarely have a use for Strength (which is tied to HP), and may prefer to put their points much more into magic — but it is not a core aspect of the system.
  • Subsystem Damage: Not by default, but if you want to use hit locations, they can either have their own allotment of Hit Points, or only risk being crippled by Critical Hits.
  • Suffer the Slings: They're actually very powerful low-tech weapons.
  • Super Gullible: The Gullibility disadvantage gives this trait to a character. They'll believe anything they're told, no matter how ridiculous it is.
  • Super Natural Martial Arts: The "Trained by a Master" advantage allows characters to buy several exotic skills and chi-based powers.
  • Super Reflexes: the Advantage called Enhanced Time Sense.
  • Super Spit: GURPS newsletter Roleplayer #10 (May 1988), adventure "The Isle of Night". The Eldritch Abomination T'Soquat can spit an acidic secretion doing 1-11 Hit Points of damage.
  • Super Strength
    • The game lets you buy Lifting or Striking strength separate from normal strength. To simulate people like Superman or the Hulk the Super Effort enhancement increases normal strength exponentially when you really need it.
    • GURPS newsletter Roleplayer #10 (May 1988), adventure "The Isle of Night". The Eldritch Abomination T'Soquat has a strength of 300, which is fantastically high by the game's standards. When it hits it does approximately 30-180 Hit Points of damage.
  • Taking the Bullet: Dodges can be applied to protect others.
  • Technical Pacifist: The Pacifism (Cannot Kill) disadvantage.
  • Technology Levels: Used by name. Every skill that relies on tools has an associated Tech Level. If you try to use that skill with tools of a different Tech Level, you'll get a penalty in proportion to the difference. The rules acknowledge that the TL ratings are arbitrary, and technological progress isn't really linear, so the GM can assign different TLs to different parts of a society, and for some skills, he's advised to let characters quickly learn how to use individual items of an unfamiliar TL without putting points into it.
  • Technology Porn: The various * -Tech books include quite a lot.
  • The Multiverse: Most obviously, in Infinite Worlds. But if that doesn't suit you, a variety of other planar cosmologies are available.
  • The Tetris Effect
    • Because of the eclectic nature of the system, enthusiasts are always trying to incorporate characters, powers, weapons... etc. into it.
    • You know you're a true fan when you find yourself unconsciously figuring out how you would stat up your friends and co-workers.
  • Time Travel
    • The basic set includes it as the Jumper (Time) advantage.
    • The GURPS Time Travel supplement (and its 4th edition follow-up, GURPS Infinite Worlds) explored this topic in depth.
  • Token Evil Teammate: Among the sample characters given in GURPS 4th Edition, Baron Janos Telkozep seems to be one. He's a vampire who's backstory is that he's working for the good guys for purely selfish reasons, and close inspection of his character sheet suggests he's not a Friendly Neighborhood Vampire but rather a murderous, greedy bastard. Oh, and he's named after a god with two faces.
  • Training the Gift of Magic: This trope is represented in the default magic system by the fact that Magery (basic Magical Aptitude) is an advantage, and each spell is then learned as a skill. (Variant systems may feature skills that each allow casting of an assortment of spells.) In settings with low or normal "mana levels", Magery is required to work magic; in high mana areas, anyone can do so, although Magery may give a bonus.
  • Trope Overdosed: Not exactly unexpected, given its myriad settings.
  • Untouchable Until Tagged: Suffering a Major Wound (damage equal to or greater than half of one's maximum HP) and botching the Health roll to stay on one's feet/keep from being stunned can quickly lead to this scenario.
  • Vampiric Draining: The Vampiric Bite and more generic Leech powers.
  • Variable-Length Chain: The Monowire Whip from GURPS Ultra-Tech is so thin, you can fit miles of it in a spool the size of your hand. (It's also invisible, unless you deliberately build markers into it.)
  • Vengeful Vending Machine: The campus vending machines in GURPS: I.O.U. will dispense almost anything a character might need: from a cold soda to a flamethrower. However, they don't always give you what you ask for.
  • Violation of Common Sense: While this trope is common to tabletop RPGs in general, GURPS takes the extra step of providing an advantage called Common Sense. If the GM makes you take it (and if you're the sort of player who needs it, he really should), he'll roll your IQ when you're about to do something stupid; success means he stops you. This makes it possible to fail a Common Sense roll.
  • Walking Armory: The Trope Namer.
  • Water Source Tampering: The Illuminati module the "Fiendish Fluoridators" as one of its many conspiracies.
  • When All You Have Is a Hammer...: The Hidebound disadvantage gives a character this as their guiding philosophy.
  • We Will Have Perfect Health in the Future: Some of the supplements, such as GURPS: Bio-Tech, provide this as an advantage.
  • We Will Wear Armor in the Future: Armor starts to make a comeback in TL 7 with the discovery of lightweight, bullet-resistant synthetics such as kevlar. In some TL 10+ campaigns armor is vital, while in others weapons are so devastating that dodging or shooting first is far more important.
  • Weirdness Magnet: The trait's description provides the page quote. Technically a disadvantage, but your mileage is gonna vary there. It's counted as a disadvantage because it's inconvenient for the character. Cool, but inconvenient. (With the potential to be downright dangerous sometimes.)
  • World War II: a main sourcebook with several different ones on different combatants including Iron Cross, All The Kings Men, Dogfaces, Frozen Hell, Doomed White Eagle, Grim Legions, and others.
  • When the Clock Strikes Twelve: GURPS newsletter Roleplayer #10 (May 1988), adventure "The Isle of Night". When the PCs' ship approaches the island time will suddenly start passing at an accelerated rate. After the PCs land on the island time will stop moving forward at exactly midnight, and stay there until the summoning is completed.
  • Writers Cannot Do Math: Averted. The editor's original career track was particle physics. 3e's infamous Vehicles books was notoriously complex. In 4e all the difficult math is done beforehand and put in tables. When supplements (and issues of Pyramid) let people peek behind the curtain phrases like "nasty transcendental equations" have been known to show up.
  • X-Ray Sparks: 3rd Edition supplement Myth. One of the illustrations (on page 98) is an archmage named Rabican using a magical sword to fire a lightning bolt at a Fallen Lord named Shiver. Shiver's skeleton can be seen inside her body when the bolt hits her.


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