Thursday, October 29, 2020

The Basics of Using GCS: Equipment

This is part 2 of my introductory series to utilizing the program GCS for creating GURPS Character Sheets. In it, I'll be covering the options for editing equipment to suit your needs.

Other Parts:
Part 1: Introductory Basics


Adding equipment to a sheet is the same as adding any other entry to your character sheet- either dragging the entry onto the sheet with the mouse, or hitting CTRL+SHIFT+C.

A bog standard edit equipment Window

The top half is the same for all equipment and encompasses the typical stats that would be applicable to equipment regardless of function- price, weight, quantity possessed, and so on. There are really four things to note about the top section:

  1. The notes field will show up under the item in the character sheet view- useful for noting specific rules or bonuses the gear might give.
  2. The Extended Value and Extended Weight fields will dynamically update with modifiers added through the modifier tab
  3. The checkboxes for Equipped and Ignore for Skills will make the item count or not count against encumbrances. The equipped box will also clear any skill bonuses for equipment that give those if it is unchecked.
  4. CTRL+UP and CTRL+DOWN will increment and decrement the uses of an item on the character sheet, making it easy to use the field to keep track of things like say, shots remaining for a gun.

The Melee Weapon and Ranged Weapon Tabs

Now let's break down the Weapons Tabs:

This first section is where you add the usage of attacks. Some weapons have different styles of attacks- such as stabbing with a sword instead of swinging it- and others have numerous types of ammunition that can be used (such as the Buckshot/Rifled Slug shown above). 

The red circle in the image above shows where the + and - buttons to add and remove a weapon usage are located. They do not render (but function) properly on some Windows computers, a known bug.

The second section deals exclusively with the damage line that will show up on your eventual sheet. Most of what is here is strictly what you see is what you get (WYSIWYG). All of the fields have helpful mouse-over text to denote what they are.

This last section hooks up the specific piece of gear to the skills on the character sheet, so that its specific entry in the weapons on your character sheet can be calculated correct. (Sharp-eyed readers might have noticed that I never did this for the Slug usage option, which is why it displays a level of 0 above.)

As shown above, you can specify way more than just 1 of these- allowing defaults to be handled pretty elegantly.

The first box (going left to right) is for the skill, and the second is for a specialization, if any. Both of these fields are case sensitive and won't work well with typos or misspellings.

The third box circled in red is the one you want to edit to emulate bonuses such as weapon bond that improve skill ONLY for that particular piece of gear. (EDIT: Turns out with a recent update the features tab now has a selection for "to this weapon" for Weapon Damage Bonus and Skill Level Bonus, which is awesome and makes the work-around above obsolete for some use cases.)

GCS will default to displaying the highest valid option on the final stats on the character sheet.

The fields for a melee weapon are very similar, but omit rate of fire, range, and such in favor of Reach, Parry Modifier, and Block Modifer fields. Again, most of the fields are WYSIWYG. 


This tab allows you to specify traits that are necessary to use the item. Without them, the item will show up in Red Text on the character sheet. This is normally more of a concern for checking for advantages or skills, but maybe your sword requires Magery or high IQ to wield or something. Fairly self-explanatory.


This tab allows you to attach bonuses and penalties of various types to the item, which will always be in effect as long as it's equipped. This is best suited to bonuses that are passive and constant, such as the DR afforded by wearing armor, or the Strength Bonus granted by wearing enchanted gauntlets.

Notably, the "Gives a weapon damage bonus of" field is where you'd want to look for setting up traits such as Weapon Master, Trained by a Master, and the damage bonuses afforded by Karate (although some skill entries also use this field, so make sure you're not double-dipping if you want to avoid GM ire.)


This is the latest addition to the equipment tabs, and it's a doozy for all of you who want a Bedazzled Light Halberd. Some of the options overlap with those in the Features tab- but modifiers allow you to affect the weight and value of the equipment at the same time, making it very flexible.

Take note of the Extended Value entries above- they differ quite a bit from the base Value and Weight!

Saturday, July 11, 2020

The Basics of Using GCS

Someone on a Discord server I frequent was attempting to learn the ropes of GCS, and was unimpressed with the level of documentation available on how to actually utilize the program.

I've been using GCS for years as I've found it to be a very convenient and powerful tool for making character sheets. I consider myself a bit of a GCS power user, so here's the start of what may become a series of posts on the basics of using the program. (In fact, part 2 dealing with equipment is now up!)

When you first create a new character sheet, you'll be presented with a blank sheet filled with some pregenerated character fluff (Height, weight, eye color, etc), and baseline GURPS stats.

Click to Expand

Of note, the Master Library contains the bits and pieces you'll most likely want to add to a character sheet- advantages, disadvantages, and skills. The libraries for Basic Set Advantages and Basic Set Skills will likely be where you'll spend the majority of your time searching for what you want to add to your characters.

Most tabs will have a blank line at the top that functions as a search bar, as well as a drop-down that usually filters by categories.

I've typed warp into the Basic Set Advantages Library here

On a character sheet, blue text means that that field can be directly edited. The fields for your stats (ST, DX, IQ, etc) will decrement unspent points appropriately as they are increased. Additionally, GCS will update derived stats appropriately (increasing DX will increase related skills, and basic speed calculation, for instance).

Some traits have way more modifiers
than others...
To add something from a library to the character sheet, you can either drag and drop it onto the sheet, or hit CTRL+SHIFT+C. Depending on the trait being carried over, a dialog box might open with modifiers related to the trait- CR ratings for disadvantages, enhancements for advantages, etc.

To edit a trait in GCS, either double-click on it, or select it and hit enter.

For advantages and disadvantages, the top portion contains fields for how to price the trait, as well as fields that help with categorizing it.

The dialog window that opens will also usually include the following tabs for most traits, including equipment:
  • Prerequisites- These will turn a trait red if your character fails to have the listed traits. (Example: Cinematic combat skills without Trained by a Master or Weapon Master.)
  • Features- These are how you can tell GCS that an advantage should give a modifier to a character- such as voice improving reaction modifiers and giving bonuses to certain skills, combat reflexes increasing defense scores, or the damage increase Striking ST gives to attacks
  • Modifiers- these are the limitations and enhancements present on numerous advantages and disadvantages
  • Melee Weapon and Ranged Weapon- these tabs allow you to specify that an attack should appear on your character's sheet, and allow you to define the statistics of those attacks
  • User description is a field that allows for entering notes.
Skills have largely the same dialog window, but have a tab for Skill Defaults, and the top portion has different fields specific to skills, which I'll drill down deeper into in a future post.

Friday, March 13, 2020

Modeling Osteogenesis Imperfecta in GURPS

Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is a congenital disease where the body doesn't produce collagen in sufficient quantity or quality, depending on the specific type the subject has. Due to this, people with the disease break bones very easily. It's more commonly referred to as Brittle Bone Disease.

OI Can generally be split into 3 Types:
  • OI Type 1- the mildest form of the disease.
  • OI Type 2- normally fatal within the first year of life
  • OI Types 3+- Moderate to severe types of the disease with differing clinical presentations

My friend has OI Type 4, which is a moderate to severe type. They broke her foot attempting to walk across concrete in socks. Accidentally kicking the leg of their bedframe broke their toe. A fall in the kitchen broke their elbow. They've cracked ribs, herniated a disk in their back, and had a metal plate in their elbow to correct a break from before I met them. To say that OI doesn't seem like an appealing Player Character trait is entirely accurate, as I'll illustrate below.

OI leads to numerous effects that could be relevant to a GURPS character, which I'd consider core to the trait:

  • Propensity for bone breaks
  • Hypermobility (A propensity for dislocated joints)
  • Chronic pain
  • Distinctive Blue Sclera
Let's start by modeling the bone breaks. Let's flip Injury Tolerance (Unbreakable Bones) on its head, and then address the duration of crippling injury.

Injury Vulnerability (Easily Broken Bones) [-10 or -20]: Your body is especially vulnerable to crippling injury.
Mild: Your limbs become crippled when they take damage over HP/4. Your extremities become crippled when they take damage over HP/6. -10 Points.
Severe: Your limbs and extremities become crippled when they take damage over HP/10. -20 points.

Injury Vulnerability (Long-lasting Crippling) [-10]: When you roll HT to see if a crippling Injury is Temporary or Lasting, you roll at HT-4.

Now for modeling the frequent dislocations, I suggest using the rules for Bad Back- the rules fit suffering painful dislocations very well.  

Likewise, Chronic Pain also works right out of the basic set. I could see mixing the triggers of Bad Back and the effects of Chronic Pain to simulate bouts of pain triggered by unwise physical activity, which is true to my experiences with my friend.

Distinctive Features covers the Blue Sclera as a Quirk.

Now in real life, OI can lead to additional effects, some of which will come down to a case-by-case basis:

  • Hunchback, per basic set, in the case of deforming types of OI
  • Lame (Crippled Legs or Paraplegic), or One Arm, or No Manipulators in the case where OI leads to compression of the spine, resulting in nerve damage that causes one to use the use of their arms/legs.
  • Loss of Basic Move

And for Cinematic Icing:
  • Flexibility (Double-Jointed), if the Hypermobility has beneficial uses, although people with Ehlers' Danlos Syndrome are better fits for it.
  • Bonuses to Weather Sense, or Detect (Low Pressure Atmospheric Conditions) since we all know bone breaks react to atmospheric pressure.