Wednesday, April 7, 2021

The Generic Beast Template

Sometimes in Gurps, the point value of an animal matters. The most common culprits are allies and alternate forms, but other situations may need point estimations as well. Estimating animal template costs can be hard, especially on the fly. So here we present the generic beast template, for help mostly in estimating animal costs.

This template isn't meant to represent any individual animal. Instead, its meant to represent a starting point from which to estimate and calculate other animal costs. We are focusing on costs here. Ideally, you should already have a stat block in mind. Gurps Campaigns has some, and Gurps Animalia has more. (Gurps Animalia is an top notch resource, and there is more Gurps stuff on that site). If we don't have an existing stat block, we can still use this template as a decent base, but it will take a bit more work.

Generic Beast [-44]

Attributes: [-6]

(as ST)  

Basic Speed 6.00 [0]
Move 6 [0]

Meta Traits: [-65]
Either Wild Animal or Domesticated Animal [-30]
Quadruped [-35] 

Advantages: [37]
Enhance Move 1/2 [10]
5 points on teeth,  horns, fur, and so forth [5]
20 points on enhanced senses [20]
Cast iron stomach 2 [2]

Disadvantages: [-10]
Restricted Diet [-10] 


Born Natural [+15]:Animals have instincts that help them survive, which Gurps models as skill points. Living is hard, but some animals rely more on innate skills that they just pick up as they live their lives. This template is appropriate for untrained domestic animals, undiscriminating herbivores, and other animals that seem to just go with the flow. 

A lifetime of Experience [+30]: Animals quickly pick up the skills they need by living their lives. add 30 points in skills. Survival, Brawling, Tracking, Mount, Hiking, Jumping, Climbing, Swimming, Stealth, and Running are common choices. This template is appropriate for highly trained animals, Cunning Hunters, Clever Eaters, Willy Prey Species, and others that have a large number of skills.

Human on the inside [+80]: This creature is really a human in the form of a beast, and lacks an animal's mental limitations. Drop the Wild or Domestic Animal Metatrait [-30] and eliminate IQ penalty [-60] and perception bonus [10]

Ichthyoid [-15]: Shaped like a fish. Remove quadruped [-35], add Ichthyoid[-50] 

Vermiform[-20]: Shaped like a snake. remove quadruped [-35], add Vermiform[-35], reduce move by 2 [-10], and remove enhanced move [10]

Bird [0]: shaped like a Bird. remove quadruped [-35], and Discriminatory Smell [-15]; add No Fine Manipulators [-30], Flight (winged, gliding) [10]

Manipulator [26]: This creature has a mouth, trunk, or other appendage that can grasp and perform fine work. Remove no fine manipulators [-30], add One arm [-20], and  adjust DX cost from [24] to [40]  

Clever Paws [36]: This creature has paws that can grasp, but normally walks on them, and they aren't as good as a humans. Remove Quadraped [-30], and add semi-upright [-5] and either bad grip or hamfisted [-5]. Adjust DX cost from [24] to [40]. Be sure to remember that ST now costs [10] again.

Beast of Burden [-50]: You are a domestic beast of burden, and as such don't need to be agile in your daily life, but you do need to be fast. Add a half level of enhanced move [10],  DX 12 becomes DX 9 [-60]. 

Things to Fill In:

The generic beast has a few advantages that should be filled in. The diet of the beast is restricted, because humans are a resourceful omnivore that can eat a lot of different food. Pick the diet that makes sense. Five points have been set aside for horns, hooves, teeth, fur, and the other various trappings that makes a beast distinct and dangerous. Most beasts won't actually spend all of these points. Fifteen points have been earmarked for enhanced senses. These are things like the discriminatory smell, night vision, acute hearing, vibration sense, and peripheral vision. Some animals may have more than 20 points in this, but often it will be enough, and many will have less.

Don't feel too pressured to fill in these points the instant you need the animal. The idea here is to estimate and to quickly get an idea of how much the animal is worth. The player could just be checking to see if they can afford the template, not actually committing to it.

Lastly, the strength of this animal has not been specified. This is intentional, because animals can be many different sizes. This template was designed to work for both Raccoons and Bears. Add the strength of your animal to find its cost. Remember to include the discounts from No Fine Manipulators and Size.

If you're wondering how much an animal ST should be, look up its weight online and consult this table:

Weight ST
Weight ST
0.3 lbs or less ST 1
200 lbs ST 12
0.5-1.5 lbs ST 2
300 lbs ST 13
2-5 lbs ST 3
500 lbs ST 16
7 lbs ST 4
700 lbs ST 18
10 lbs ST 4
1,000 lbs ST 20
15 lbs ST 5
1,500 lbs ST 23
20 lbs ST 5
2,000 lbs ST 25
30 lbs ST 6
3,000 lbs ST 29
50 lbs ST 7
5,000 lbs ST 34
70 lbs ST 8
7,000 lbs ST 38
100 lbs ST 9
10,000 lbs ST 43
150 lbs ST 11
7 tons or more:
Check out this table!

 *Or use 2 x Cube Root of Weight. Which is the official rule. 

Things to Tweak: 

A few traits are common to tweak or add. for the most part, they shouldn't change the cost of the beast by too much, with most staying within about 20 points of the original amount.

  • While enough animals have discriminatory smell that I put it on the template, enough don't that its worth checking if you need it.
  • Should this animal have DR? a lot of the bigger ones do. remember the tough skin limitation
  • Should you add an additional movement mode? Brachiator, amphibious, and Catfall are possible advantages here.
  • Is its move right? Move 6 and enhanced move 1/2 is a fairly good average, but its not uncommon for animals to be faster or slower, and speed is a good way to differentiate them.
  • Are its attributes correct? The numbers given are averages and estimates. Deer may be more agile and  and Bison less agile but more hardy. Some species are less intelligent than others. Look at similar creatures from some of the stat blocks.
  • Is this particular animal different? Allies and alternate forms can be of exceptional creatures. Druids are always transforming into Big Bears, not average ones, and a Horse Ally is likely to be especially fast, smart, or both.

Wrapping Up:

I hope this template helps you when building and estimating the cost of animal traits. I've wanted to be better at estimating animal costs for a while, and this should finally let me do it. Have fun building all of your animals!

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