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All About GURPS And GURPS Quirks

by: Finn Orfano ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 4/17/2012 • Leave a comment

If you aren't familiar with GURPS this article is a good place to start. Learn about the unique use of GURPS quirks in character creation for your RPG games.

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    What Is GURPS? What Are GURPS Quirks?

    GURPS is an acronym for Generic Universal Role-playing System and it is a tabletop role-playing system that was created by Steve Jackson games in 1980. It is called generic because the rules are designed to be used in any kind of setting. GURPS was the first system that tried to create a set of universal RPG gaming rules instead of creating a new system specific to each game. Steven Jackson Games were more than successful in this respect because GURPS became a huge hit in RPG gaming circles and won the Origins Award for best role-playing rules in1988. In fact, GURPS is one of the most widely known, and widely played, RPG gaming systems available today.

    GURPS Cover:   The GURPS system starts off with a base set of simple rules that you can build upon with details that suit your specific RPG game. When it first appeared, the character creation of GURPS was very unique as it defined a set number of points for character creation instead of randomly assigning points or relying on the role of the dice. In GURPS you get a specific number of points to spend on your characters abilities, things like dexterity, strength and speed. Each ability that you add to your character costs points but you can offset their cost by getting disadvantages for your character, which gives you extra character points. One of the unique things about this system is the inclusion of GURPS quirks into the character creation process.

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    GURPS Quirks In Character Creation

    You should not confuse GURPS quirks with disadvantages because character disadvantages are designed specifically to give your character “disadvantages" during game play. A quirk is not an advantage or a disadvantage it is just a unique trait for your character. For example, in the game, gluttony is a 5 point disadvantage and a character with that trait must make a self-control roll whenever faced with the opportunity to indulge. However, having a character that will only eat food in a specific order is a good example of a GURPS quirk.

    In GURPS you are allowed to have up to five quirks and it is recommended that you take all of them. GURPS quirks cost 1 point each and can be paid off later with one point, but it’s not recommended that you do so. The trick to having a great character is finding a quirk that fit in with their personality, or ones that seem to be in complete opposition to what the character stands for. You have to be careful not to make the quirk too annoying or hindering because then it starts seeping into disadvantage territory.

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    Benefit Of GURPS Quirks

    GURPS quirks are a great way to flesh out your character. Many guides recommend starting with your quirks first before you add on any abilities.GURPS graphic from   Quirks can help breathe life into a standard character, they can add humor (or horror) to the game and, most importantly, they are fun to play. Lets say you create a badass futuristic mercenary who has signing as one of his abilities. A great quirk for him would be to randomly break out in show tunes whenever he is bored or nervous. Just imagine Vin Diesel taking out a bunch of bad guys while singing the theme song to Annie…now THAT is an interesting character!

    GURPS rules taken from