Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Making Monsters courtesy of Ravens & Pennies

Over on Ravens & Pennies, Christopher Rice has an excellent post for people making monsters for their GURPS games.

Gamemaster's Guidepost: The Art of Creating Critters

It's a great guide. If I could usefully add to it:

How skilled is it? Know what its absolute skill level can do. But also know what its skill level gives it relative to its intended foes. Skill 16 is murder vs. Skill 12, but it's toast vs. Skill 20. All the instant death ST-based damage in the world is harmless against foes you can't hit.

Does it have special attacks? Especially for genres like DF, you need to know what special attacks it has that make it especially able to deal with its expected opposition. If its attack forms are limited in a damage type (it only uses fire, say) know how common totally effective counters will be.

Know the synergies. In other words, if your critter has 20 HP and Regeneration, know this doubles the HP regen rate. Know how Unkillable 3 and Recovery will work together. Familiarize yourself with what all of the abilities you are putting down on the sheet meet and how they interact with each other.

I think those, coupled with Christopher's advice, will help when you are making up GURPS monsters.


  1. Man, those are some good points. I can't believe I forgot skill levels.

    1. It was valuable even without those!

    2. :-) I find it useful, I've mostly internalized it at this point (along with a lot of the things I do as a GM) so it's actually hard for me to put it in words.

    3. I can't fault you for taking the time to try to and explain it. It's a handy guide. If you want to stick my additions in, either as-is or just write your own additions based on what I pointed out, go for it.

  2. I noticed a tendency in the Basic Set of giving most creatures that might try to attack or hunt down PCs a total of 24 for HT and DX, giving a Basic Speed of 6.00; cats with DX 14 and HT 10, wolves with DX and HT both of 12, and bears with DX 11 and HT 13. Predators almost always had Stealth and/or Tracking and Brawling at DX+2 for the damage bonus.

    Deer, horses, and the like tended to be a bit more arbitrary in their HT and DX adding up and were expected to attack with straight DX rolls and no bonus damage if at all.

    These trends continued when I helped my GM stat his dinosaurs and other monsters for the campaign we were going to play; almost everything had DX 11-14, HT 11-14, ST based on its size, Basic Speed 6.00, Brawling DX+2, and more often Combat Reflexes than not.

    I really do think this is a much more gamist pattern than a simulationist one. Not that I mind this.

    1. That's a good observation.

      And yes, Brawling @DX+2 is the predator standard in GURPS. I think of monsters as those kinds of critters that need more than DX+2, and exceed those typical HT+DX = 24. They are those that hunt the hunters, and must exceed the limits that usual predators have.


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