Time to Make Characters, People! (A List of 45 GURPS Templates Relevant to Sci-Fi)

After all this work on the spaceships, it’s time to get rolling on the characters. For the Land of the True Game campaign I’ve decided to write my own character templates for the players to choose from. It’s slow going, but man do you learn a lot.

In contrast, with the Deeps of Lyrae campaign I’m going to use the templates published in GURPS Space and GURPS Traveller: Interstellar Wars. I’m using occupational templates. That means that the players still have to come up with a concept for their character that relates to my prompt. As a reminder, the prompt was:

“Your character is in a boring suburb on a backwater planet and has a good reason to want to become a space pirate.”

That means the occupational template is a start (it’s a job anyway), then the characters situation will be modified by how they decided to respond to that character prompt (click that link for examples).

I’ll still let players make a character from scratch if they want to, but it is SO MUCH EASIER and faster to use a published template. I did write up some character creation advice for this campaign in order to help people who want to do everything themselves.

Remember that by default I’m designing this campaign for humans races only and they are not supposed to have psionic powers.

The Easiest Way: 15 Choices

The simplest way to handle this is to ask your players to choose a basic template published in the GURPS Space book. That gives you 15 choices:

  1. Astronaut
  2. Bounty Hunter
  3. Colonist
  4. Con Man
  5. Doctor
  6. Explorer
  7. Merchant
  8. Scientist
  9. Secret Agent
  10. Security Officer
  11. Soldier
  12. Space Knight
  13. Space Worker
  14. Technician
  15. Thief

Templates that were published as a set in the same book are almost guaranteed to work well together: a big plus.

However, I wanted to add a little bit more choice in my campaign, so I wanted to go through other relevant books to find other templates that would give people more ideas.

More Options: 45 Choices

The GURPS Wiki on Fandom has what looks like a pretty-darn-complete list of all of the published GURPS 4e templates, if this helps you. However, since it mixes all genres together, I’m going to make a subset “pick list” here to give to my prospective players.

I’m going to also throw in a few favorites from GURPS Action 1: Heroes, as this is that kind of campaign–but the action templates will be too pricey (at 250 points each — this campaign starts at 150 points). However, if someone chooses one I’ll just cut it down substantially, de-Action-ize it, and then Traveller-ize it. I don’t think it will be that hard.

Note: This list includes the entries from the above GURPS Space list.

Book Key:
GTIW = GURPS Traveller Interstellar Wars;
G:S = GURPS Space.
GA:H = GURPS Action 1: Heroes

Players, Please Pick One:

  1. Academician (85 pts.) GTIW
  2. Assassin (a.k.a. Space Knight) (150 pts.) G:S / Assassin (250 pts.) GA:H
  3. Athlete (100 pts.) GTIW
  4. Attorney (74 pts.) GTIW
  5. Belter (95 pts.) GTIW
  6. Bounty Hunter (120 pts.) G:S
    • alternately, Repo Man (130 pts.) G:S
  7. Bureaucrat (65 pts.) GTIW
  8. Capitalist (80 pts.) GTIW
    • alternately, Executive (80 pts.) G:S
  9. Cleaner (250 pts.) GA:H (not a janitor — this is the Winston Wolfe criminal character from Pulp Fiction who knows how to get rid of evidence)
  10. Colonist (40 pts.) GTIW / (50 pts.) G:S
  11. Con Man (75 pts.) G:S / Face Man (250 pts.) GA:H
  12. Demo Man (250 pts.) GA:H
  13. Detective (100 pts.) G:S
    • alternately, Private Detective (110 pts.) G:S
  14. Dilettante (70 pts.) GTIW
  15. Diplomat (90 pts.) GTIW
  16. Doctor (95 pts.) GTIW / (90 pts.) G:S
    • alternately, Xenomedical Specialist (120 pts.) G:S
  17. Entertainer (90 pts.) GTIW
  18. Explorer / Scout (150 pts.) G:S
    • alternately, First Contact Specialist (170 pts.) G:S
  19. Fighter Jock (120 pts.) G:S
  20. Gambler (100 pts.) G:S
  21. Hacker (a.k.a. Cyberspace Thief) (75 pts.) G:S / Hacker (250 pts.) GA:H
  22. Inventor (100 pts.) G:S (in some game systems, this is an “artificer”)
  23. Journalist (65 pts.) GTIW
  24. Marine (130 pts.) GTIW / Space Marine (95 pts.) G:S
  25. Merchant (75 pts.) G:S
    • Antiquities Dealer / Fence (85 pts.) G:S
  26. Policeman (110 pts.) GTIW
  27. Politician (70 pts.) GTIW
  28. Rescue Squad (145 pts.) G:S
  29. Secret Police Inspector (122 pts.) G:S
  30. Security Officer / Police Officer (115 pts.) G:S
    • alternately, Frontier Marshal (135 pts.) G:S
  31. Scientific Fraud / Charlatan (80 pts.) G:S (a con man that uses pseudo-science)
  32. Scientist (90 pts.) GTIW
  33. Soldier or Veteran (130 pts.) GTIW / (70 pts.) G:S
    • lenses (all in G:S): Armored, Battlesuit, Combat Engineer, Infantry, Elite Trooper, Officer.
  34. Spy (90 pts.) GTIW / Secret Agent (100 pts.) G:S
    • alternately, Superspy (150 pts.) G:S
    • or Covert Military Advisor (165 pts.) G:S
  35. Space Worker (75 pts.) G:S (sort of a general “tech” kind of person)
  36. Starship Bridge Officer (100 pts.) GTIW / Astronaut (100 pts.) G:S
    • alternately, Fighter Jock (120 pts.) G:S
  37. Starship Commander (140 pts.) GTIW / Starship Captain (120 pts.) G:S
  38. Starship Deckhand (80 pts.) GTIW
  39. Starship Engineer (100 pts.) GTIW / Engineering Officer (120 pts.) G:S
  40. Starship Security Officer (125 pts.) G:S
  41. Starship Science Officer (120 pts.) G:S
  42. Technician (55 pts.) G:S
  43. Thief (75 pts.) G:S / Rogue (90 pts.) GTIW / Infiltrator (250 pts.) GA:H / Wire Rat (250 pts.) GA:H
  44. Utopian or Separatist (40 pts.) G:S
  45. Wheel Man (250 pts.) GA:H

I notice that some of these templates represent quite a different design philosophy, so they may need some GM work to equalize.

Other Ways to Think About Your Character’s Job

Another way to think about this task is that eventually I’m going to have my players flying this ship. That means, unless they want to hire a bunch of NPCs to do everything, they’re going to want occupations that can be squeezed into the crew requirements of that ship. The absolutely essential set of skills are probably these four:

  • Pilot/Navigator
  • Gunner
  • Comms/Sensor Operator
  • Engineer (x3)

I can add some of these to existing templates (a Hacker could easily be tweaked to be able to use the sensors and comms on the ship’s bridge), I can throw some gunnery on an existing template with no trouble. Other needs are less likely to be squeezable/tweakable with these templates–such as Pilot and Engineer. Medic isn’t listed but it could also be good support class to have… but if no one wants to be one, they can buy (or I can give them) an autodoc in the sickbay.

Finally, the GURPS 3e Traveller books also have a number of relevant templates and it isn’t too much work to adapt them. If, for some reason, the above list is not enough, you could also add template ideas from old GURPS Traveller books. I’ll discuss this in my next post.


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