A Guide to Roleplaying in the Albedo Universe Using GURPS Rules
Copyright © 1993, 1994 Fred M. Sloniker
Several years ago, shortly after the first edition of Albedo: the
Role-Playing Game came out, I got my hands on a copy of it at a get-
together of some of my friends and was immediately fascinated by its
portrayal of a future society at risk not from without but from
within. It was in fact that role-playing game that got me into the
furry fandom; I bought my own copy shortly thereafter, managed to
collect most of the comics published thus far, and was immediately
hooked on Gallacci's art and story. However, the system as it stood
had some serious flaws from my point of view, among them its lack of
organization and its reliance on die-rolling to create characters.
When I picked up a copy of the Generic Universal Role-Playing System,
I knew I wanted to do a conversion of the Albedo RPG into that system.
The work was slow and fraught with delays. It wasn't until the
summer of 1993, as I slaved away at college and found myself
thoroughly bored with only minimal access to the Internet, that I
decided to haul out my old notes on character statistics, riffle
through the dog-eared game manuals, run many a number-crunch to
determine the best way to convert the statistics, and actually finish
my pipe dream. Even then, it took six months to write and repeatedly
revise the text, with schoolwork taking up most of my time; part of
that time was spent securing the necessary copyright permissions, from
not one but three sources, and part of it was spent ensuring the
project wouldn't be obsolete before it was finished by making it ready
for the second edition before there was a second edition. The only
reason that I managed to get through the project in the end was sheer
stubbornness; after all the work I'd put in, there was no way I was
giving up on this one.
At last, though, I got it all together; the article was sent to
R'ykandar for publication at the beginning of the year. Now with any
luck I'll find the time to actually play a role-playing game or two . . .
In order to use this reference, you'll need a copy of the GURPS
Basic Rules, third edition. GURPS Space and GURPS Aliens have been
referenced for various advantages and disadvantages, while GURPS High-
Tech and GURPS Ultra-Tech have been used for various bits of
equipment; all of these will be useful, but aren't required. You'll
also need the Albedo RPG rules (preferably second edition) to supply
the framework upon which this conversion is built. (If you don't have
them, think of them as a slightly pricy supplement.)
Character Creation and Conversion
Whether you're bringing your Albedo:RPG characters into the world
of GURPS or creating new characters to adventure in the Albedo
universe, you'll need to know how the vital statistics of critters
work out in GURPS. As an example of these processes, two sample
characters are given: Toki, whose stats are in the Albedo RPG, will
serve as an example of character conversion, while Mordek Lazuli, an
up-and-coming xenobiologist, will demonstrate new character creation.
The first thing to decide when creating a character is what
species he will be a member of. Not only does this the beginnings of
a description and some stereotypical behavior to break, but it also
provides certain benefits and penalties, which fall into three
- Attribute modifiers. These are always applied after attributes
are bought; for instance, a truly Schwartzennegerian mouse (with a ST
modifier of -5) wants a ST of 10. This would cost it 60 points (buy
ST 15, then subtract 5) instead of 40 (buying ST up from 5 to 10).
(It would also definitely require the Unusual Background advantage!)
- Disadvantages and advantages. Being the norm for the species,
these are worth (or cost) nothing; (not) having one is a
(dis)advantage. For instance, otters are normally Impulsive; for an
otter, being Not Impulsive is a 10-point advantage.
- Skill bonuses or penalties. Again, these are applied after
skills are bought; they do apply to defaults in the skill (though
GURPS Aliens specifies otherwise.)
These benefits and penalties are lumped into species packages,
which have point costs just like advantages. These point costs, and
the contents of the packages, are detailed in the list below. (This
list only covers the critters given in the Albedo RPG, though; anyone
who wants an aardvark is on his own.) Note that neither the negative
cost of some packages nor the cost of any disadvantages within a
package count against the 40-point disadvantage limit.
Avian (minor): 9 points. ST-5, DX+2, Extra Fatigue +5, Reduced Hit
Points -2, Claws (+2 to kicking damage), Free Fall +2. Avians of
all sizes cannot use their hands to punch or grapple (the muscles
are too weak) but may buffet with their wings (doing swing damage
for their ST), use hand weapons at -1 to damage for strength, or
use ranged weapons. For hand-to-hand combat, they generally kick
(and get a +2 to damage).
Avian (major): 14 points. ST-2, DX+1, Extra Fatigue +2, Reduced Hit
Points -1, Claws (+2 to kicking damage), Free Fall +2.
Avian (ratite): 14 points. Claws (+2 to kicking damage), Free Fall
Canine (dog, light): 4 points. ST-2, DX+1, Extra Fatigue +2, Reduced
Hit Points -1, Acute Hearing +2.
Canine (dog, average): 4 points. Acute Hearing +2.
Canine (wolf): 22 points. ST+2, Reduced Fatigue -2, Extra Hit Points
+1, Acute Hearing +2.
Canine (fox): 6 points. ST-2, DX+1, Extra Fatigue +2, Reduced Hit
Points -1, Acute Hearing +3. A fennec, with its extremely large
ears, has Acute Hearing +5, raising its cost to 10 points.
Feline (cat): 14 points. ST-2, DX+1, Extra Fatigue +2, Reduced Hit
Points -1, Acute Hearing +2, Night Vision.
Feline (cougar, jaguar, lynx): 9 points. DX+1, HT-1, Reduced Fatigue
-1, Acute Hearing +2, Night Vision.
Feline (lion, tiger): 17 points. ST+2, HT-1, Reduced Fatigue -3,
Extra Hit Points +1, Acute Hearing +2, Night Vision.
Marsupial (platypus): 0 points. ST-2, DX+1, Extra Fatigue +2, Reduced
Hit Points -1.
Marsupial (possum): 24 points. ST-2, DX+1, HT-1, Extra Fatigue +1,
Reduced Hit Points -1, Night Vision, Prehensile Tail, Free Fall
Marsupial (kangaroo): 9 points. Striker (crushing, roll DX-2 to hit),
Acute Hearing +2, Jumping +2.
Mustelid (ferret, otter, stoat): -10 points. ST-2, DX+1, Extra
Fatigue +2, Reduced Hit Points -1, Impulsiveness. An otter has
Swimming +4, raising its cost to -2 points.
Mustelid (weasel): 0 points. ST-2, DX+1, Extra Fatigue +2, Reduced
Hit Points -1.
Rodent (mouse, rat): -1 point. ST-5, DX+2, Extra Fatigue +5, Reduced
Hit Points -2, Acute Hearing +2.
Rodent (rabbit): 8 points. ST-2, DX+1, Extra Fatigue +2, Reduced Hit
Points -1, Acute Hearing +4. (Rabbits are really lagomorphs, but
are listed under rodents to conform with the Albedo RPG.)
Rodent (chipmunk, squirrel): 0 points. ST-2, DX+1, Extra Fatigue +2,
Reduced Hit Points -1.
Rodent (beaver): 0 points. No significant modifiers.
Ungulate (camel, cow, horse, llama): 55 points. ST+2, DX-1, HT+2,
Hooves (+2 to kicking damage), Common Sense.
Ungulate (goat, pig, sheep): 5 points. Hooves (+2 to kicking damage),
Ungulate (rhino): 36 points. ST+3, DX-1, Reduced Fatigue -3, Extra
Hit Points +2, Hooves (+2 to kick).
Ursoid (raccoon): 4 points. ST-1, DX+1, Extra Fatigue +1, Reduced Hit
Points -1, Acute Hearing +2.
Ursoid (bear): 16 points. ST+3, DX-1, HT-1, Reduced Fatigue -4, Extra
Hit Points +1, Common Sense.
Heights and weights for Albedo characters can usually be
determined by analogy to the human form. Small-framed critters
average less than four feet; light-framed, 4'0" to 4'6"; average-
framed, 4'6" to 5'4"; solid-framed, 5'4"-6'; and huge-framed, over six
feet. Small critters are a little lighter than their height would
imply; large ones are sometimes much heavier.
Ex. Toki, obviously, is a rodent (mouse), and a rather cute one at
that. Her species has a ST of only 5, but 10 Fatigue points
(which we write as a `split ST' of 5/10); a DX of 12; a HT of 10,
but only 8 Hit Points (written as HT 10/8); and Acute Hearing +2.
Being a mouse is considered a 1-point disadvantage, but does not
count against her allowed 40 points of disadvantages and 5 points
of quirks; none of the contents of the mouse species package have
any point cost. As detailed in the Albedo RPG, she has gray fur,
green eyes, and is 116 cm (3'10"), 23.6 kg (52 pounds). She was
born 172-12-02 (December 2 by human reckoning), which makes her
27 as of Issue #8 of "The New Albedo".
Mordek Lazuli (we'll call him Laz), on the other hand, is a stocky,
vaguely pleasant-looking squirrel. He starts with ST 8/10 (8 ST,
but 10 Fatigue), DX 11, and HT 10/9 (10 HT, but 9 Hit Points).
While we're at it, we'll define his height and weight; he's an
albino squirrel, 4'2" (127 cm), 87 pounds (39.5 kg), with pink
eyes and an exceptionally bushy tail. His birthday is 163-03-11,
which means he recently turned 37.
For characters originally created for the Albedo RPG, conversion
of the eight Albedo characteristics to the four GURPS attributes is
relatively straightforward (not simple, perhaps, but straightforward).
Here's how to go about it:
ST is equal to Albedo Strength. Fatigue, on the other hand, is
equal to Stamina; take levels of Extra/Reduced Fatigue, described
under Advantages and Disadvantages, as needed.
DX is the average of Manual Dexterity and Co-ordination. If M-D
is higher than Co-ord, you may, if you wish, make DX equal to Co-ord
and buy levels of the Manual Dexterity advantage (10 points/level; see
GURPS Aliens p. 14) as appropriate.
IQ is the average of Reason and Intuition. Albedo Drive
translates directly into GURPS Will; take levels of Weak/Strong Will
HT is equal to Stamina.
N.B.: your final attribute levels, after species modifiers, are
determined by these formulae! (If the formula says you have a DX of
11, and your species has DX+2, spend -10 points on DX, getting a DX of
9, then apply the species modifier. You're clumsier than most of your
species, so you get points back.)
There is no GURPS equivalent for Albedo Stability; use the number
as a guide for roleplay or to suggest appropriate quirks or mental
Ex. Toki's Strength is 5, so her ST is 5; this is worth nothing, being
her species average. (She has her species' +5 bonus to Fatigue,
so this is written as ST 5/10.) Her DX is 13.5 (the average of
an M-D of 14 and a Co-ord of 13); we round it up to 14, paying 20
points (buy DX up to 12, then apply the species' +2). Her IQ is
13 (the average of Reason 12 and Intuition 14), and costs the
usual 30 points; her HT is 11, costing 10 points. (Her species
has two fewer Hit Points than usual, so we write this as HT
Toki's Drive is only 12, so we ought to give her a single level of
Weak Will, and we could buy her another point of Fatigue to make
it equal to her HT. On the other hand, she already has plenty of
fatigue, and one point of Will won't make too much difference; we
won't bother. Therefore, so far she costs 59 points.
When creating new characters, you may buy their attributes
normally, though those attributes will be modified by species bonuses
and penalties. In a realistic campaign, however, keep in mind that
extreme attribute variations, particularly in the physical attributes,
would be highly unlikely; anyone whose (particularly) ST is more than
three points higher than his species' average is a good candidate for
an Unusual Background. (Strictly speaking, someone with more than
three points less is also a good candidate, but that critter's got
Ex. We want Laz to be very smart and fairly dextrous; we spend 20
points on DX, raising it to 13, and 60(!) on IQ, raising it to
15. We'll buy down his HT a point (HT 9/8), which saves us 10
points (he's always been a little sickly); ST (8/10) is fine as
is, since he isn't really an athletic person when it comes down
to it. He costs 70 points so far.
The following advantages from the GURPS Basic Set are either not
available in an Albedo campaign or have certain caveats attached. If
an advantage is not listed here, it may be taken freely.
Absolute Direction-- While this advantage will work on any planet, it
does not work in space and gives no bonus to Astrogation. See 3D
Spatial Sense, below, for an advantage that does.
Acute Hearing-- This is a very common advantage for critters,
especially ones with large, swivellable ears. Such critters are
also capable of pinpointing sound more readily than humans; on a
good Hearing roll, the GM should provide the approximate location
of the sound, if it isn't obvious.
Animal Empathy-- This advantage is not available in known space, since
there are no animals to whom it might apply. See Empathy, below.
Appearance-- Many of the cues to attractive appearance and behavior
are species-specific. When a critter interacts with another
critter not of the same genus (rodent, canine, ungulate), his
effective Appearance is reduced by one level(towards Average).
Clerical Investment-- While many critters in known space are beginning
to experiment with the concepts of faith and religion, there
simply aren't any churches large enough for Clerical Investment
to be available as an advantage. However, the critter's
individual beliefs may form a Sense of Duty, a Vow, or even a
Delusion, depending on their nature and strength.
Charisma-- This being a universal force of personality, it works
undiminished over all species, unlike Attractiveness.
Combat Reflexes-- All critters who have training in Coolness Under
Fire, especially military critters, are heartily encouraged to
take this advantage.
Danger Sense-- Note that this is a psionic ability (though one that
any critter may have), and thus is of interest to the Net. (See
the discussion on psionic skills, under Skills, below.)
Empathy-- This is also a freely available psionic ability.
Legal Enforcement Powers-- Homeguard officers will usually have 5
points worth of this advantage. EDF forces may have 5 or 10
points, depending on their position (support staffers have less
authority than special forces types); however, the EDF's
jurisdiction is space, and these powers will carry little weight
Literacy-- This is the norm for the Albedo campaign; every critter is
taught this fundamental skill. However, that doesn't mean
everyone can learn it; see Dyslexia, under Disadvantages, below.
Magical Aptitude, Magic Resistance-- These do not exist in Albedo.
Military Rank-- In the first edition ruleset, critters in the EDF have
two types of ranking to worry about: rank grade and specialist
rating. The former is their authority, the latter their
capability. Therefore, EDF critters take Military Rank equal to
their rank grade; specialist rating is not bought separately, but
is given based on the levels of the appropriate skills possessed
by the critter. (See the Albedo RPG for guidelines on
determining specialist rating.) Homeguard forces, and second
edition characters, merely take Military Rank equal to their rank
Night Vision-- Some critters have this automatically (for example,
cats), but anyone else may take it if desired.
Patrons-- A member of the EDF or Homeguard may, but is not required
to, take it as a Patron. The EDF costs 25 points as a base (due
to its interstellar authority), the Homeguard 15. The Net is
very rarely available as a Patron; it keeps tabs on people in
positions to advance and improve society (which, at present,
means it's on the ConFed's `side', but it isn't locked into that
role) and assists them through manipulation of the terabytes of
data it processes hourly. It studies Talents as well, because of
their unusual capabilities, though most of them are not aware of
its scrutiny. It is worth 15 points, being an individual with
unusual abilities but limited ability to act, and is only
available if the GM offers it to you.
Peripheral Vision-- Any critter may have this advantage. Avians and
ungulates are the most likely to have it, since their heads are
still shaped very much like their nonsentient `ancestors', which
have this advantage.
Toughness-- This is quite rare for critters, and probably only
appropriate for huge-framed ones, or those whose "ancestors" had
natural armor. GMs should keep mobile combat platform characters
in check with any method they see fit, including disallowing the
advantage and assessing an additional Unusual Background cost.
Wealth-- While characters living in capitalist economies will have
more starting cash and better job pay than characters living in
socialist economies, most of their wealth will be tied up in
house payments and utility bills, leaving them with about the
same free spending money as their more pampered cousins. In game
terms, Average Wealth is 1,500 credits for Coreworlders, 7,500
credits for Rimworlders-- but since 80% of their money goes to
home gear, they also have only 1,500 credits free for adventure
supplies. (On the bright side, they probably have a nicer, or at
least more individual, pad.) This also applies to job pay;
capitalist critters get more money, but socialist ones have no
cost of living to worry about. (EDF or Homeguard characters,
whose room and board is covered, are effectively in a `socialist'
economy wherever they go.) See Economy, under The Big Picture,
for more information.
The following advantages from GURPS Space may be used:
Acceleration Tolerance (10 points)-- This advantage will be of the
most use to EDF/Homeguard aerodyne and helicopter pilots, who
have to cope with sudden, radical accelerations during evasive
maneuvers. Those in larger ships should look at Improved G-
Bionics (variable, see Space p.67)-- Given the level of medical
technology in known space, bionics will be rare, but they are not
unknown, particularly in victims of space combat. (See the
original Albedo v.7 for a good example.) No critter may (and no
sane critter would!) simply purchase bionics, however; they will
only be used to replace organs lost to injury or genetic defect,
and usually only for the few years it takes to successfully
`grow' a replacement. Only those bionics in GURPS Space are
available to furries; it is recommended that neither cash nor
points should be charged for components that merely replace
flesh, while anything that provides improved capabilities should
cost both cash and points.
G-Experience (10 points)-- While spacers may take this advantage, it
is of limited use since most inhabited planets have gravities
close to one G. It might come in handy in a scouting campaign.
Improved G-Tolerance (variable, see Space p.33)-- This advantage will
be of the most use to scouts, who sometimes explore high-G
worlds, and starship crew, who are sometimes subjected to
sustained periods of high G's.
3D Spatial Sense (10 points)-- Note that this is considered a psionic
talent in the Albedo campaign! (Erma has this advantage, and the
Net has taken an interest in her in part because of it.) It is a
quite useful advantage for astrogators and pilots.
The following advantages from GURPS Aliens may be used:
Claws (15 points)-- Both avians and ungulates have 15-point Claws.
(Although they're called Hooves for ungulates, they have the same
game effect.) The advantage may not be taken by other critters,
however; the cost is only given here to make creating new species
Extra Fatigue (5 points/point)-- While critters shouldn't be able to
buy this without restraint, some characters being converted from
the Albedo RPG will need it to accurately model their high
Stamina. Players with GM permission may also use this advantage
to buy off levels of Reduced Fatigue inherent in their species.
Extra Hit Points (8 points/point)-- This advantage is not available
without explicit GM permission; one legitimate use is to buy off
levels of Reduced Hit Points.
Manual Dexterity (10 points/level)-- Anyone may take this advantage
Ex. Toki is definitely Beautiful (15 points) and Charismatic (5
points). She'll find Combat Reflexes useful in her line of work
(15 points), and she is, of course, Literate. Being in command
of her local squadron gives her Military Rank 3 (15 points) and
Legal Enforcement Powers (5 points); she also gets a free level
of Status from her Military Rank . The total is 55 points,
bringing her point total to 114 points.
Lazuli, on the other hand, is only Attractive (5 points), but has
Charisma +2 (10 points). He is Literate and has Strong Will +2
(8 points-- for a Will of 17!). He has a reputation in the
scientific community as a hard-working researcher (+2 for a large
group, all the time; 5 points), and a good job at his local
university (Comfortable Wealth, 10 points) for a total of 38
points, raising his point total to 108 points.
The various disadvantages from the Basic Set that warrant
discussion are listed here. When converting characters, note that
Disposition, Ties, and Antipathies are all good sources for Quirks and
Disadvantages-- but mental Disadvantages may affect your SPI! (See
Finishing Your Character, below.)
Also note that several severe mental disadvantages are, by their
nature, quite likely to be discovered and corrected, especially on the
Coreworlds. Addiction, Berserk, Bloodlust, some Compulsive Behaviors,
Major or Severe Delusions, Fanaticism, Kleptomania, Megalomania,
Phobias, Sadism, and Split Personality should not be available without
GM permission, unless the campaign is set on a Rimworld where such
disadvantages are less likely to be compulsorily corrected.
Furthermore, the EDF and Homeguard will not hire someone with any of
these disadvantages (overtly; individuals with good political
connections have been known to circumvent this). Other negative
mental disadvantages will hurt the critter's chances as well, though
more by affecting his SPI than any specific regulations against them.
Addiction-- Addictions are nearly unknown, but they can exist, even in
the `enlightened' society of known space. Any addiction is
automatically worth five more points than usual; addictions
aren't strictly illegal, but they are considered behavior
aberrations, and the offending critter will be `cured' if he
Albinism-- Albino mammals are uncommon, but present. Their fur
provides more protection from the sun's effects than bare skin,
but less than a normal critter's fur; halve the rates of damage
for sunlight on page 27 of the Basic Set. Because of the number
of limitations Albinism imposes on work and play, the
disadvantage is still worth -10 points.
Alcoholism-- Alcohol is easy to make; it can make itself if fruit
juice isn't properly stored. Therefore, this is the most common
addiction for critters to succumb to. It is worth -20 points,
due to `illegality' (see Addiction, above, for more details).
Appearance-- As for good Appearance, bad Appearance is less obvious to
those of a different species. Unless the critter is interacting
with another critter of the same genus, his appearance is
effectively improved by one level (towards Average).
Deafness-- Any character from a species with Acute Hearing bonuses
also trades them off, getting back 2 points per +1.
Duty – EDF or Homeguard critters are required to take this
disadvantage to represent the hazards of employment in a military
organization. Other employers may require this disadvantage as
well. See Sense of Duty, below.
Dwarfism-- Any critter may take this disadvantage, though none start
with it. Dwarf mice (and dwarf bears, for that matter) will be
rather an unusual sight.
Dyslexia-- Since Literacy is the norm in known space, this
disadvantage is worth -15 points. It is also the only way to
have Illiteracy (see below).
Enemies-- People who would work towards seeing a specific critter dead
aren't appropriate to the genre of Albedo. (Even EDF troops on
the front line are `merely' being shot at in the line of duty.)
However, this merely means the GM has a chance to show the
players that an Enemy can do much more painful things than kill;
a rival in the scientific field, a high-society type who snips at
your ego every chance he gets, or the higher-ups in command who
think you're doing your job too well are all good choices for
Enemies. The Net also makes a rather nasty Enemy; it can't do
you any physical harm, but it can ruin your promotion prospects,
get you transferred to obscure locations, and make important
files `lost' in transit. It is worth a base of -15 points, but
is only available if the GM inflicts it on you; it chooses to act
against an individual as often as it chooses to act for one,
which is quite rarely. (See Patrons, under Advantages, above.)
Gigantism-- As for Dwarfism, this is not mandatory for any species,
but is available to any critter. A Giant bear is truly fearsome
in combat, but tough to shop for.
Hard of Hearing-- Any critter from a species which has Acute Hearing
bonuses should first sell them back, getting 2 points per +1,
before taking this disadvantage.
Illiteracy-- This disadvantage is not available in known space; all
critters are taught how to read as a matter of course. However,
some critters can't learn to read; see Dyslexia, above.
Intolerance-- The effects of this disadvantage on a critter vary
depending on both his occupation and the group he is intolerant
of. The EDF tends to officially frown on hiring Intolerants,
even those Intolerant of (say) the ILR, since they want their
troops to be capable of rational thought. The Homeguard, on the
other hand, often encourages Intolerances of the ILR, rabbits, or
even EDF/centrists, depending of course on which Homeguard it is.
Lecherousness-- This disadvantage is relative to the usual mating
habits of the critter's species; cyclical critters, for instance,
may have periods of intense interest (even by their species'
standards), or may be flirty all the time, even when not capable
of coupling. Most critters are only interested in mating with
their own species, or at least similar ones; to do otherwise may
be a Quirk, or even an Odious Personal Habit.
Phobias-- Manaphobia (fear of magic), Teratophobia (fear of monsters),
Triskadekaphobia (fear of the number 13), and Ophiophobia (fear
of reptiles) are unavailable in known space for obvious reasons.
Poverty-- Note that a critter in a socialist economy can be Dead Broke
and still get the essentials of life (food, shelter, clothing,
medical care, and basic Net access). On the other hand, not
every planet has such an extensive `safety net', and especially
on corporate worlds, Dead Broke is simply dead. See also the
discussion on Wealth, above, and Economy, below.
Primitive-- This disadvantage is not available in known space. All
critters are at TL9, the campaign norm. (See AlbedoTech, below.)
Sense of Duty-- Good citizens, especially Coreworld citizens, often
have a Sense of Duty to the ConFed; on Rimworlds, this often
winds up being a Sense of Duty to their homeworld. However, this
is never enforced; EDF/Homeguard personnel, in particular,
usually have the Duty instead (though with GM permission, a Sense
of Duty may be substituted for a Duty).
Social Stigma-- The stigmas which characters may have levied against
them vary from world to world; one common one (in areas near the
ILF-ConFed border) is being a rabbit. GMs should inform the
players what Social Stigmas apply to the campaign.
Status-- A negative Status is uncommon, since the ConFed tends to
correct or execute problem individuals. Reaction modifiers for
personal history or personal behavior are better handled as a
poor Reputation or an OPH, respectively.
All the disadvantages from GURPS Space not previously forbidden
The following disadvantages from GURPS Aliens may be taken:
Dependency (varies, see Aliens p. 19)-- Some critters may have to take
certain medication at regular intervals, for physical (preventing
organ rejection, say) or mental (controlling severe mental
disorders) reasons. See also Addiction, above.
Reduced Fatigue (-5 points/point)-- As with Extra Fatigue (see
Advantages, above), this will most commonly be taken to remove
levels of Extra Fatigue (to simplify bookwork) or to reflect a
converted character's low Stamina.
Reduced Hit Points (-5 points/point)-- See also Extra Hit Points,
above. It is not normally available outside of species packages.
Ex. Toki needs some disadvantages to bring her point total down, even
if she is an experienced character. She has a mandatory Duty to
............................................nest (-10 points).
Unfortunately, she is also Impulsive (-10 points), enjoying
playing as hard as she works and willing to try anything twice,
and Stubborn (-5 points), especially when it comes to admitting
she's wrong. She is also Truthful (-5 points); she has a
tendency to blurt out how she really feels. This is a total of
-40 points, bringing her point total to 74 points.
Lazuli, meanwhile, has to cope with Albinism (-10 points)--
remember those pink eyes? He is a Coward (-10 points), avoiding
pain nearly devoutly, and has an Odious Personal Habit (-5
points); instead of medicating his mild allergy to pollen, he
just keeps wiping his nose with the back of his hand. On the
flip side, he is Honest (-10 points), if for no other reason than
a paranoid suspicion a Homeguard officer will appear from nowhere
to berate him if he tries anything funny. He is also mildly Shy
(-5 points), preferring the company of his technical gear and the
Net community to `real actual people'. This is a total of -40
points, bringing his point total to 68 points.
While we're at it, let's define their Quirks. Toki's Quirks are
"Not picky about species", "Wants to raise her own litter",
"Flirts with a passion", "Encourages others to be as social as
she is", and "Likes listening to music". These total -5 points,
bringing her total to 69 points.
Laz's Quirks, on the other hand, are "Always eats his food one
taste at a time", "Likes being outdoors, but doesn't like the
dirt and weather", "Hangs out with those more social than
himself", "Spends more time than he ought to on the Net", and
"Hates being out of control of a situation". These total -5
points, bringing his total to 63 points.
Skills in the Albedo RPG are not that difficult to translate into
GURPS terms, despite the mucking about with governors in the first
edition and the shift to broad skill levels in the second. The
following table shows how to convert skill levels to GURPS terms:
Albedo RPG -> GURPS conversion
(first edition): 1-4 5 6 7 8 9 10* 11 12# 13 14 15~
GURPS Skill at (attribute)+: -5 -4 -3 -2 -2 -1 0 1 2 2 3 4
*: Second edition skill/expertise.
#: Second edition adept skill/great expertise.
~: Second edition master skill/very great expertise.
For instance, if a critter has training/experience level 12 in
Computer Ops in the first edition Albedo:RPG rules, or adept level
skill in the second edition, that critter has the skill Computer
Operations/TL9 at IQ+2 under GURPS rules.
Certain sticky spots may be encountered during the conversion
process. Often `default' or low-level skills in the Albedo system
convert to a skill at a lower level than you are capable of buying
under GURPS rules, particularly if the skill is an Easy one. In that
event, either omit the skill, taking the default, or spend 1/2 point
and take what it gives you. When two or more skills in Albedo become
one skill in GURPS, average the attribute modifiers each skill would
give, add one for each skill over the first being merged, and use that
as the attribute modifier for the skill. (To clarify: suppose a
critter has a training level of 7 in Public Speaking and 13 in
Repartee. If both are combined to make Bard, average IQ-2 (from
Public Speaking) and IQ+2 (from Bard), getting IQ, then add 1 for
having put two skills together, to get IQ+1.) Skill packages must
first be broken up into their component skills, as detailed in the
Albedo RPG, then converted.
As for the skills themselves, the choice of an appropriate GURPS
skill is usually straightforward. Here's a list of the ones that may
Aerodyne Weapons Systems-- Gunner (specialized).
Art-- Take whichever Artistic or Craft skill is appropriate to the
Assess Personality-- This skill is not available in GURPS, but the
Psychology skill or Empathy advantage is probably the best fit.
Auto G.L. Gunnery-- Gunner (specialized).
Biology-- In GURPS, you must specialize in this. See p. 60 of the
Basic Set for more information.
Boxing-- Brawling or Karate.
Brokerage-- This is a new Professional Skill, Mental/Hard.
Coolness Under Fire-- This skill is not available in GURPS. Most
military critters will have Combat Reflexes; civilians will tend
towards a level of Strong Will instead.
Current Affairs-- History (with optional specialization) or Area
Detect Hidden Object-- This skill is not available in GURPS. Instead,
calculate the level the skill would be at if it existed, then
take that level (minimum 0) of Acute Vision or Alertness. For
instance, if the critter has Detect Hidden Object 12, that would
be a skill at IQ+2; buy Acute Vision +2 or Alertness +2).
Ecological Science-- Ecology/TL9.
Fine Arts Appreciation-- Appreciate Beauty (Mental/Very Hard, defaults
to appropriate art/craft, IQ-5 or Savoir-Faire-5). (A more
complete description is given in GURPS Japan, p. 30, among other
Grenade Launcher-- Guns (specialized).
Hide In Cover-- Stealth or Camouflage.
Jump Drive Navigation-- Astrogation (specialized).
Long-arms-- Guns (specialized).
Mechanical Repair-- Mechanic.
Medicine-- Physician or First Aid.
Melee (armed)-- an appropriate combat skill, such as Knife or Axe.
Melee (unarmed)-- Brawling, Judo, or Karate.
Mineral Appraisal-- Geology or Metallurgy.
Missile Launcher-- Gunner (specialized).
Operate Heavy Machinery-- Driving (specialized).
Philosophy-- A new Scientific skill, Mental/Hard.
Political Science-- History (with optional specialization; see GURPS
Basic Set, sidebar, p. 43).
Public Speaking-- Bard.
Repartee-- Bard, Carousing, or Savoir-Faire.
Sneak-- Stealth, Disguise, and/or Camouflage.
Snitch-- There is no direct analogue to this skill; use Stealth, Acute
Senses of some sort, or just Luck (in the right place at the
right time . . . )
Socio-History-- see Political Science.
Spin Yarn-- Bard or Acting.
Spotting-- See "Detect hidden object", above.
Starship Navigation-- Astrogation (specialized).
Systems Engineer-- Electronics/TL9 (specialized).
Tactical & Strategic Skills-- Tactics/TL9 or Strategy/TL9
Throw Grenade/Rock-- Throwing.
Turreted Main Arms-- Gunner (specialized).
Zero-G-Movement-- Free Fall.
Ex. Toki has Administration A, which breaks down to Administration 15,
Computer ops 12, and Bargain 12. (Note that this is taken from
first edition mechanics.) This translates, in GURPS terms, into
Administration at IQ+4, Computer Operation/TL9 at IQ+2, and
Merchant at IQ+2; these are skill levels of 17, 15, and 15, with
point costs of 10, 4, and 6 points, respectively. Her remaining
skill packages break into Tactics/TL9 (Aerodynes) 14 (6 points)
and Leadership 12 (1/2 point, counting the +1 bonus from
Charisma) from Command; Free Fall/TL9 14 (2 points) and
Electronics/TL9 (basic starship systems) 13 (4 points) from
Aerospace aircrew; Guns/TL7 (rifles) 16 (1 point, counting the IQ
bonus; this is a lot more than she'd normally get, but 15 is the
lowest she could buy in this skill, and spending a whole point
makes the math better later) and Guns/TL7 (pistols) 15 (1/2 point
for a higher skill than she used to have. What a deal!) from
Combat weapons; Bard 15 (4 points, counting the +1 from
Charisma), Appreciate Beauty 13 (8 points), and Singing 14 (1
point) from Advanced education; and Savoir-Faire 13 (0 points,
free from Social Status-- she has 15 on Danet), Sex Appeal 13 (6
points, since it's bought from HT), and Carousing 13 (8 points,
for the same reason) for her social skills. (Yes, this is the
compound sentence from hell; her character sheet at the end of
this article summarizes her skills more tidily.) This is a total
of 62 points, bringing her point total to 130 points. She's
definitely an experienced character, which is expected, since she
had two more career points than starting characters get.
New characters have matters rather simpler, not having the
headache of skill packages to mess with; however, there are limits to
what skills characters can take in an Albedo campaign. The following
list covers each of the basic categories of skills, mentioning any
problem areas; if a particular skill is unmentioned, it may be taken
Animal Skills-- There being no animals even on the level of reptiles
in the Albedo universe, none of these skills exist except for
Veterinary/TL9, which is rare.
Artistic Skills-- Calligraphy doesn't exist; Musical Instrument is
limited to simple woodwinds, percussion instruments, and (most
common) synthesizers; Photography is Camcorder Operation/TL9;
Sculpting is rare.
Athletic Skills-- Parachuting and Riding do not exist, while
Bicycling, Scuba, Skiing, and Sports are rare; Breath Control
does exist, but is uncommon. Judo and Karate skill rolls may be
substituted for any ST roll involved in a grapple, which
especially helps small critters.
Combat/Weapon Skills-- Only Axe/Mace, Axe Throwing, Brawling, Fast-
Draw, Gunner/TL9, Guns/TL7, Judo, Karate, Knife, Knife Throwing,
Shield, Speed-Load, Staff, and Thrown Weapon exist in Albedo, and
edged weapon skills are uncommon. Note that Guns is a TL7 skill!
(Hand weapons haven't kept pace with vehicular and starship
Craft Skills-- Pottery is rare, and Shipbuilding/TL9 uncommon, but all
skills here are available.
Language Skills-- There is only one language in known space, known as
Standard; all critters have this skill at IQ level. However,
various planets and regions have their own dialects;
Coreworlders, especially, can have rather thick accents. In
addition, some religious practicioners may use a particular
variant of Standard in their own practices, providing both unity
in faith and privacy from eavesdroppers. The homeworld of a
particular character should be noted on his character sheet, and
the GM should assign a penalty (up to -4 for dialects; religious
variant tongues, if allowed by the GM, may have more severe
penalties) to language rolls for anyone who doesn't speak that
dialect to understand it when spoken. Gesture is the only other
language skill that exists.
Medical Skills-- Hypnotism is not practiced as a skill, though no
doubt the Net is aware of the principle of mesmerism. Medical
skills may be specialized for a species or group of species,
including non-sentient ones like arthropods and fish.
Outdoor Skills-- Seafaring skills are unusual, but all these skills
Professional Skills-- Heraldry is not available, but all the rest are.
Psionic Skills-- Psionics deserve separate discussion. (And they'll
get it, in "Psionics in the Albedo Campaign", coming soon.
Blatant plug.) However, it's worth noting for now that the Net
takes an interest in anyone with developed psionic abilities,
particularly if they include any Electrokinetic skills.
Scientific Skills-- Alchemy, Linguistics, Occultism, and Theology do
not exist (unless studying the Creators counts as Theology);
Anthropology exists as a study of the ancient (that is, 200 years
ago) critters; Archaeology covers the technology they were gifted
with. Skills such as Biochemistry and Botany may be specialized
either towards the workings of critters and their `support' flora
and fauna, or towards the indigenous life forms of the known
space. Physiology, First Aid, and the like may be specialized
(see GURPS Basic Set, sidebar, p. 43 for more details) to an
individual species; if the skill is unspecialized, each genus
counts as a familiarity (again on page 43).
Social Skills-- All skills in this category may be taken freely.
GURPS Space Skills-- Of the new skills, Force Shield, Force Sword, and
Tangler do not exist for lack of equipment; Xenobiology and
Xenology do not exist since no truly alien life forms have yet
been discovered to which they would apply. (Mordek Lazuli is a
xenobiologist, and his skills make an excellent reference for any
other aspiring xenologists.) Unless elsewhere forbidden, the
rest of the skills are allowed.
Thief/Spy Skills-- Ventriloquism doesn't exist. Some of the other
skills, like Poisons, would be unusual even for a secret agent,
but they can be taken by anyone with an appropriate background.
Vehicle Skills-- Battlesuit and Teamster do not exist, and Bicycling
is uncommon. As a whole, these are uncommon, as many critters
walk or take public transportation instead of driving.
Ex. Lazuli still has to pick out some skills. Various scientific and
medical skills are naturals for his profession: Naturalist 16 (6
points), Botany/TL9 12 (1/2 point), Chemistry/TL9 16 (6 points),
Biochemistry/TL9 12 (1/2 point, bought off the Chemistry
default), Physics/TL9 12 (1/2 point), Zoology 12 (1/2 point), and
Physiology/TL9 15 (8 points, but studied for native planetary
life, not critters). Other skills suggest themselves for a
squirrel of his IQ and interests: Writing 15 (2 points), Computer
Operations/TL9 16 (2 points), Computer Programming/TL9 12 (1/2
point), Research 15 (2 points), and Mathematics 12 (1/2 point).
Finally, we give him a smattering of other skills to round out
his character and give him something to do out of the lab: Area
Knowledge (the Net) 15 (1 point), Musical Instrument (Synth
Keyboard) 12 (1/2 point), Judo 12 (2 points), Staff 12 (2
points), Cooking 15 (1 point), First Aid/TL9 12 (1/2 point; he
can't use his Physiology default unless he's treating an animal),
and Diplomacy 12 (1 point, counting a -1 penalty from his mild
Shyness). He also has Survival 13 as a default from Naturalist.
This is a total of 37 points, making his grand total 100 points;
he is ready to start adventuring.
(Laz and Toki's stats, as well as a character story for Laz,
appear at the end of this article for your convenience.)
Finishing the Character
Once you've finished the conversion or creation process, you'll
have to work out the usual set of GURPS statistics, like your
character's age (as of The New Albedo #8, the game date is 200-09-19,
or September 19 in human terms), basic damage, movement, defense
scores, and so forth. (See "Completing Your Character", GURPS Basic
Set p. 78.) In addition, an important statistic from Albedo must be
(re)computed: your character's Socio-Psych-Intel index (SPI).
The character's base SPI is three times his IQ, plus or minus any
Will bonus or penalty, divided by ten (so a character with IQ 12 and
Strong Will +2 has a base SPI of (3(12)+2)/10, or 3.8). Subtract .1
for every five full points of negative mental disadvantages (such as
Greed or Bloodlust) the character has; add .1 for every five full
points of positive mental disadvantages (such as Honesty or Pacifism)
the character has. Finally, for every full 20 points the character
has spent on skills, add an additional .1.
Converted characters' SPI may change slightly; if the change
lowers their SPI below the minimum required by their profession,
character points must be expended to improve it, in a manner open to
the player's discretion (for instance, raising IQ or improving
Ex. Toki's base SPI is 3 times 13 (her IQ) divided by 10, or 3.9
(remember, we chose not to give her a level of Weak Will, which
would have lowered this to 3.8). Of her disadvantages,
Impulsiveness and Stubbornness together lower her SPI .3 (-15
points); Honesty raises it .2 (-10 points). (Truthfulness means
she won't lie to her superiors, but it also means she can't lie
to the enemy, so it has no effect.) She's spent 62 points on
skills, which means an additional boost of .3 to her SPI. Her
final SPI is 4.1, identical to her Albedo rating.
Lazuli, on the other hand, has an IQ of 15 and Strong Will +2, so
his base SPI is 4.7 ((3(15)+2)/10); he is a Coward, which lowers
it by .2 (10 points), but is Honest, which raises it by .2 (10
points). (His Shyness and OPH don't affect his SPI.) Having
spent only 37 points on skills, he gets only a .1 bonus, so his
SPI is 4.8.
Converted characters whose point total comes out over 100 points
may, unless the GM requires otherwise, keep the extra points;
characters who come out lower should be brought up to 100 points.
Newly created characters must, however, abide by the character point
limit for the campaign.
Equipment Selection and Conversion
For the most part, kitting out critters isn't difficult; the
costs are given in the Albedo RPG, as are the weights (though in
kilograms, not pounds; the conversion factor, by the way, is 2.2
pounds to the kilo). Still, weapons and armor work significantly
differently in the Albedo RPG than they do in GURPS, so some
conversion will be necessary.
The simplest way to convert weapons is to compare the weapon to
weaponry currently in use, then just use the stats of the same or
similar weapon (either from the Basic Set, or from GURPS High-Tech or
Ultra-Tech if you have them); handgun technology isn't significantly
better than our state of the art, while shipboard weaponry is much
more sophisticated. The one modification you'll have to make is to
minimum ST; improved recoil compensators and the like reduce the kick
of guns to the point that mice, avians, and the like can at least use
pistols without the recoil throwing their aim all over the place
(reduce minimum ST of all firearms by 3).
Armor, on the other hand, will have to be converted. Weight,
cost, and coverage are all self-explanatory. PD is equal to the
penetration resistance in the second edition (half of it in the
first), or 6, whichever is lower; DR is equal to twice the impact
resistance. The encumbrance number is a penalty to DX, and any DX-
based skills affected by the area covered, while the armor is worn.
These apply to vehicular armor as well.
The Big Picture
Now that we've converted the characters, and the things they're
carrying, we can take a look at the world they're living in. Of
particular interest to players and GMs are three topics: the Tech
Level of the Albedo campaign, the economic system (which means jobs
and their pay), and the campaign style.
The overall Tech Level of Albedo is TL9, demonstrated primarily
by the existence of the jump drive. However, not every field of
technological innovation has kept pace with the developments in
interstellar travel, electronics, and the like. In particular:
- While starship weaponry is fairly sophisticated, using beam
weapons and 'brilliant' high-energy kinetic missiles (use TL9 rules),
hand weaponry is still at TL7. There are no hand lasers, blasters,
stunners, or other pseudoscience weaponry available. There is also no
bladed weapon tradition; knives and other cutting objects are
available, and training in using them well can be obtained, but a
critter who uses one is either desperate or deranged.
- Similarly, vehicular and starship armor is at the forefront of
the technological advance, while personal gear lags behind. Personal
armor is just entering TL8, mostly due to trickle-down from starship
tech; it's good protection from pistols, rifles, and the like, but
won't slow anything heavier down.
- Communications and scanning equipment is at TL8, using only
incremental improvements to technologies that exist today. (Sorry,
folks, no tachyon imaging scanners.)
- Medicine is, for the most part, at TL9. The exceptions to this
rule are in scanning technologies and implants; medical techs still
rely on currently- or soon-available techniques, such as MRI, to look
into the body. As for implants, such as internal time clocks or
reflex speeders, they are theoretically possible, but frowned upon in
concept, a reaction halfway between a reasoned ethical stance against
building critters into combat platforms and a gut-level revulsion.
Cloning is possible, but slow; growing an organ generally takes a few
years. (Cloning an entire body is not done under normal
circumstances, but it *has* been done, at least once . . . ) Bionics, as
mentioned under Advantages, above, are available but rare, usually
used while replacement organs are being cloned.
- Drive systems for FTL travel are at TL9, but STL travel lags
behind at TL6+ reaction drives. On the other hand, TL9 fusion
provides a much better source of reaction mass than chemical
In other fields, such as computer technology and odd gadgetry,
the Albedo universe is TL9. Use common sense, though, in deciding
what gadgets from, say, GURPS Ultra-Tech are available. The GM's word
(and Gallacci's) is law.
The economies of various ConFed and ILR worlds vary wildly in
their structure. In the Coreworlds, socialism is the order of the
day; citizens are heavily taxed, but want for very little. In
general, the farther out from these worlds one travels, the more
capitalist the worlds become; jobs pay more, but more and more of the
critter's expenses must be paid personally. (The ILR worlds, as a
rule, are highly capitalistic.) Some worlds, particularly those rich
in resources but poor colonization choices, are controlled by a
corporation, forming a sort of planetary `company town'; critters get
paid by the company, then reinvest their money in it to get food and
The practical upshot of all this is that starting cash and job
pay can vary widely from campaign to campaign; in general, however,
since the characters will be in the same economic system, there
shouldn't be any great disparities in cash and pay (other than those
paid for with character points). The most likely exception would be a
campaign on a Rimworld in which some of the characters are EDF
personnel (and effectively living in a socialist economy) and some of
them are not.
A number of job listings are already given in the Albedo:RPG
rules. More can, of course, be added, using the normal GURPS job
table construction method; the GM will need to determine job pay and
The world of Albedo, as portrayed by Gallacci, is a very
`realistic' world. People can get hurt and killed in firefights, and
thus try to avoid them; social and political maneuvering occurs as an
undercurrent in many activities; and few individuals are truly heroic
in the epic sense, but simply do the best they can under tough
circumstances. Therefore, it is recommended that critters in the
GURPS system be worth the standard 100 points initially (some critters
converted from the Albedo RPG may be exceptions, with GM permission);
in addition, as many advanced rules as possible about bleeding, wound
effects, and so forth should be used (which will, no doubt, encourage
some GMs to design adventures that don't revolve around a firefight,
if only to avoid the math).
Gallacci's stories about the ConFed explore two primary themes:
personal interaction and sociopolitical struggle. Both of these are
certainly fine things to use as campaign focuses, or at least for a
night's gaming; the former, particularly, may well be a welcome change
for GURPS veterans, a chance to roleplay without being overly
concerned with `winning' the game. Still, these aren't by any means
the only stories that can be told about Albedo; there are still those
who boldly go where angels fear to tread, or eke out an existence on
the final frontier, or just try to make a living going from planet to
planet (or city to city) trading valuable wares. Many stories told in
other genres, from fantasy to cyberpunk, can be told in the Albedo
environment with a little tweaking.
Of course, there's no reason you have to be totally realistic if
you don't want to be. Take those 200 points and go cinematic. Use
`flesh wound' rules, expendable extras, evil bad guys, the whole bit.
After all, it's your campaign, and there is a certain appeal to having
your players be the only people who can stop the vicious ILR from
launching The Bomb That Will Destroy the Universe. If you prefer, you
can explore the world of the "Birthright" comics, after the collapse
of the ConFed, and have your players cruise the stars in their very
own starship; or perhaps a crossover campaign is more to your liking
(what would happen, for instance, if our favorite critters found other
life, not human or critterian, near known space?)
Finally, there's one very significant aspect of life in known
space that the original RPG doesn't explore, but really isn't all that
difficult to get into. Just gather your usual gang of players
together for character creation and tell them that, this time around,
they're all going to be creating rabbits in a capitalist economy . . .
Credit where credit is due: to my mom, who doesn't get nearly
enough credit; to Jordan Greywolf, who did the accompanying artwork;
to Hubert Bartels, a playtester above and beyond the call of duty, and
to all the rest of the playtesters; to Steven A. Gallacci, who got me
into furrydom with his work (and who arranged Toki's appearance, not
to mention provided me with second edition RPG drafts and many helpful
comments); to Paul Kidd, who really got me into furrydom with his work
on Gallacci's work; to Steve Jackson Games, publishers of a really
darn nifty RPG, who were kind enough to let me use their product's
name all I want (GURPS GURPS GURPS GURPS GURPS. So there.); and to
R'ykandar Korra'ti, who gave me somewhere to publish this, and thus,
incentive to finish it.
I welcome your comments on this article; was there something you
wanted to see? Something you wish was different? Something you
didn't understand? Send me email at email@example.com, or write
me care of "Refractions", and I'd be happy to reply to your questions.
GURPS is a registered trademark of Steve Jackson Games; Albedo
(the graphic novel series) is a copyrighted work of Steven Gallacci;
and Albedo: the Role-Playing Game is a copyrighted work of Paul Kidd.
Used with permission.
Coming soon: psionics rules for GURPS Albedo!
---Fred M. Sloniker
Toki (EDF Staff Commander)
27 years old; female mouse, pale gray fur, shading to white in
front, green eyes; 3'10", 52 pounds; SPI 4.1 – 131 points.
ST 5/10, DX 14, IQ 13, HT 11/9.
Basic Speed 6.25; Move 6.
Dodge 6, Block (with improvised shield) 5.
Wears casual clothing or uniform (no armor) on-duty; has access
to EDF flak armor (PD 3, DR 8).
Advantages: Appearance (Beautiful); Charisma +1; Combat Reflexes;
Legal Enforcement Powers; Literacy; Military Rank 3.
Disadvantages: Duty (to ConFed); Honesty; Impulsiveness;
Quirks: Not picky about species; Wants to raise her own litter;
Flirts with a passion; Encourages others to be as social as she is;
Likes listening to music.
Skills: Administration-17; Appreciate Beauty-13; Bard-15;
Carousing-13; Computer Operation/TL9-15; Electronics (basic starship
systems/TL9)-13; Free Fall/TL9-14; Guns (pistols/TL7)-15; Guns
(rifles/TL7)-16; Leadership-12; Merchant-15; Savoir-Faire-13; Sex
Appeal-13; Singing-14; Tactics (Aerodynes/TL9)-14.
Weapons: EDF pistol: 2d-1 crushing.
37 years old; male squirrel, slightly stocky, white fur, pink
eyes (albino); 4'2", 87 pounds; SPI 4.8 – 100 points.
ST 8/10, DX 13, IQ 15, HT 9/8.
Basic Speed 5.5; Move 5.
Dodge 5, Block (improvised) 4, Parry (from Staff or Judo) 8.
Wears work or casual clothes; no armor.
Advantages: Appearance (Attractive); Charisma +2; Literate;
Reputation (+2, scientific community, all the time); Strong Will +2;
Disadvantages: Albinism; Cowardice; Honesty; Odious Personal
Habit -1 (constantly wiping nose); Shyness (mild).
Quirks: Always eats his food one taste at a time; Likes being
outdoors, but doesn't like the dirt and weather; Hangs out with those
more social than himself; Spends more time than he ought to on the
Net; Hates being out of control of a situation.
Skills: Area Knowledge (the Net)-15; Biochemistry/TL9-12 (from
Chemistry default); Botany/TL9-12; Chemistry/TL9-16; Computer
Operations/TL9-16; Computer Programming/TL9-12; Cooking-15; Diplomacy-
12; First Aid/TL9-12; Judo-12; Mathematics-12; Musical Instrument
(Synth Keyboard)-12; Naturalist-16; Physics/TL9-12; Physiology/TL9-15;
Research-15; Staff-12; Survival-13 (default from Naturalist); Writing-
Weapons: Wooden walking stick: 1d crushing (swung), 1d-1 crushing
(thrust) at ST 8.
Ever since he was a little kid, Laz (as he prefers to be called;
he's never been fond of `Mordek') was intrigued by the incredible
diversity of native life on his homeworld, Ish-Tako. His parents
worried about him sometimes, when he would wander into the forest
carrying only an umbrella (to protect against the sun) and a hand
computer (to take notes); however, as he was always careful to avoid
direct sunlight (he has been known to dodge sunbeams) and stay out of
trouble (he never acquired an injury that needed stitches), they
didn't worry too much.
His interest paid off when he entered college. After a rocky
first few years in the unfamiliar world of higher education and freer
Net access (sometimes to the detriment of his studies), he buckled
down to his xenobiology studies, eventually obtaining his doctorate.
(His thesis, curiously enough, was written on a species of arthropod
he had never seen in the wild, being native only to a few worlds on
the other end of known space.) He briefly considered a career in the
ConFed, but with exploration of space slowing and tensions with the
ILR making the chances of him actually having to get shot at
unacceptably high, he decided to play it safe and get a research
position at the university he'd graduated from.
Over the last few years, he's distinguished himself in the
scientific community. He's quite bright and skilled (though sometimes
he lets a batch of cells die off because he's busy skimming the Net;
old habits die hard) and has written several papers. The major area
of development he lacks is social skills; he can be good enough
company in a one-on-one situation, but large groups of people (say,
more than two) cause him to fade into the shadows.
"Oh, I see the problem. See, if you just do this, this, this,
and this, and then hit F3, the error goes away. Simple. Glad to
"No, I haven't had time to read that article. I've been busy
shaking the bugs out of `Attack of the Space Flotsam'."
"Um, yeah, lovely view, sure. Can we step back a bit from the
guardrail? Maybe, say, ten meters or so? . . . "