Steve Jackson Games GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System

GURPS Update – 2nd to 3rd Edition

by Walter Milliken
11-30-88
This is a list of all the changes I found between the 2nd and 3rd editions of the Basic Set. It was created to help SJ in preparing GURPS Update, but others may find it useful as a guide to the various changes. I've only omitted trivial rewording changes and the like.

Notations used: a lone "added" means the material is entirely new to the Basic Set (although it probably appeared elsewhere in worldbooks or Roleplayer). The symbol "=>" separates simple value or phrasing changes, with the 2nd edition value before, and the 3rd edition after, the change symbol.


Changes from GURPS Basic Set 2nd edition to 3rd edition
=======================================================

Wealth and Status
=================
Dead Broke: -20 => -25 pts.

Advantages
==========
Clerical Investment: added
Combat Reflexes: 10 => 15 pts., gives new bonuses to Active Defenses,
  Fast-Draw, Fright Checks
Double-Jointed: bonus to Acrobatics removed
Eidetic Memory: first level: 20 => 30 pts.
Legal Enforcement Powers: added
Lightning Calculator: added (split off from old Mathematical Ability)
Longevity: added
Magical Resistance: added
Mathematical Ability: skill bonuses changed, computational ability moved
  to Lightning Calculator advantage
Military Rank: added
Musical Ability: now explicitly includes Singing in affected skills
Rapid Healing: 10 => 5 pts.
Toughness: "eyes" exception added
Voice: added bonus to Performance skill

Allies: added
Patrons: several minor clarifications

Disadvantages
=============
Limiting Disadvantages: 3-disadvantage limit removed, "required"
  disadvantage exception to -40 pt. limit added

Primitive: added
Social Stigma: the -20 pt example (slaves) removed

Dwarfism: added -1 penalty to Move, ST-4 for Jumping
Fat: added penalties for Disguise, Shadowing, ST+2 bonus for Slams
Lame: One Leg: Move 1 => 2
Low Pain Threshold: added

Mental Disadvantages: the "14 rule" clarified, uses new Will rolls

Absent-Mindedness: added
Berserk: IQ => Will roll, mechanics for negative HT changed to accomodate
  new consciousness rules
Bloodlust: added
Code of Honor: added
Combat Paralysis: added
Compulsive Behavior: added
Compulsive Lying: added
Delusions: names changed, -10 pt. version added
Gullibility: added
Intolerance: added
Phobias: mechanics changed to use new Fright Check rules, -3 penalty to
  IQ and DX for Severe forms;
  Fear of Crowds: modifiers added
  Fear of Sharp Things: added
  Squeamishness: added
  Fear of Weapons: added
Shyness: added
Split Personality: new mechanics for designing characters with this problem
Truthfulness: Detect Lies modifier added
Vow: added
Weak Will: added

Dependent: added 50-75 pt. NPCs as 0 pt. Allies; x1/2 modifier for
  employer/acquaintance added
Duties: frequency table changed slightly
Enemies: single 50 pt. enemy -6 => -5

Quirks
======
changes to quirks allowed: added
"open" quirks: added

Skills
======
Prerequisites: added prohibition on using defaults for prereqs
Specializing: added -2 "outside specialty" penalty for having 2 specialties
Familiarities: sidebar added
Maximum Default: added effective attribute maximum of 20 for defaults
Point Costs for Skills: lower limit of cost now 1/2 pt. for all skills
Improving Skills with Defaults: sidebar added

Animal Skills
-------------
Falconry: added
Packing: added
Teamster: added
Veterinary: unfamiliar type penalty -5 => -2

Artistic Skills
---------------
Bard: Performance-2 default added, language penalties added
Writing: time modifiers -5/+5 => -3/+3

Athletic Skills (was Physical Skills)
---------------
Acrobatics: Double-Jointed bonus removed, added substitution for DX rolls,
  added Acrobatic Dodge
Breath Control: added
(Bicycling moved to Vehicle Skills)
Scuba: slight change in failure effects
Skiing: slight change in critical failure effects
Swimming: rules changed and moved to Success Rolls chapter

Combat/Weapon Skills
--------------------
Blackjack: added
Blowpipe: added
Bolas: added
Brawling: "native punching ability" default mention removed
Broadsword: default to Force Sword-3 added
Buckler: added
Fast-Draw: added specialties (Blackjack, Magazine, Speedloader), added
  +1 bonus for Combat Reflexes
Force Shield: added
Force Sword: added
Gunner: +1/+2 bonuses for IQ 11-12/13 => 10-11/12
Lance: added
Lasso: added
Net: added
Shield: Block 1/3 => 1/2 Shield skill, added default Buckler-2
Shortsword: added default to Force Sword-3
Spear Thrower: added
Spear Throwing: added default to Spear Thrower-4
Speed-Load: added
Two-Handed Sword: added default to Force Sword-3
Whip: added

Craft Skills
------------
(Architecture moved to Scientific Skills)
Armoury: TL5+ definition clarified, specialties added, added -5 penalty
  for no tools at TL9+
(Engineer moved to Scientific Skills)
Jeweler: default Blacksmith-3 => Blacksmith-4
Mechanic: (moved here from Vehicle Skills)

Language Skills
---------------
Levels of Language Skill: table changed substantially
Gesture: cultural penalties added
Telegraphy: added

Medical Skills
--------------
Diagnosis: default First Aid-4 => First Aid-8
Hypnotism: added
Physician: default First Aid-7 => First Aid-11
Surgery: default First Aid-8 => First Aid-12

Outdoor Skills
--------------
(Boating moved to Vehicle Skills)
Navigation: added -4 penalty for no equipment
Survival: added -2 penalty for unfamiliar continent/planet

Professional Skills
-------------------
Accounting: (moved here from Scientific Skills)
Computer Operation: (moved here from Scientific Skills)
Electronics Operation: added (was Electronics in earlier worldbooks)
Heraldry: added
Law: (moved here from Social Skills)

Scientific Skills
-----------------
added -2 penalty for two specialties
Architecture: (moved here from Craft Skills)
Electronics: added (replaces Engineer (Electronics))
Engineer: (moved here from Craft Skills), Electonics specialty => new skill
Genetics: added specialty Genetic Engineering at TL9+
Geology: added default Prospecting-4
Metallurgy: added default Jeweler--8
Meteorology: instrument bonus (TL-5) => (TL-4)
Prospecting: added

Social Skills
-------------
Acting: added default Performance-2
Administration: added skill 15+ requirement for +2 reaction bonus
Area Knowledge: added
Diplomacy: added stuff on influence skills
Performance: added
Savoir-Faire: added -6 penalty for alien culture
Strategy: now requires specialization, added default Strategy (other)-4

Thief/Spy Skills
----------------
Camouflage: added
Detect Lies: IQ difference effects removed, -4 penalty for opponent Acting
  or Fast-Talk skill removed, added -2 penalty for different species
Disguise: IQ difference effects removed
Holdout: added
Intelligence Analysis: added
Traps: added equivalance to Electronics (Security Systems) at TL7+
Underwater Demolition: added

Vehicle Skills
--------------
"starting" skill roll now only required if using skill at default
added 15+ skill critical failure aversion rule
Bicycling: (moved here from Physical Skills)
Boating: (moved here from Outdoor Skills)
Driving: unfamiliarity penalty -1 => -2, added ATV specialty
(Mechanic moved to Craft Skills)
Motorcycle: now requires specialization
Piloting: M/H based on IQ => P/A based on DX, added explanation of failure
  results, added penalties for simple and complex craft, added new
  specialties, space piloting prereqs of Free Fall and Vacc Suit eased
Powerboat: changes to required rolls for operation

Equipment and Encumbrance
=========================
Armor Types: added TL7+ armor types
Damage Types and Damage Bonus: bullets changed from crushing to special case
Your Move Score: added clarification of Running skill effects, Running
  effect on Speed => Move

Character Development
=====================
Disadvantages Gained During Play (sidebar): the "no cost" method of
  eliminating such gained disadvantages has been removed
Improvement Through Study (sidebar): study equivalent of
  1 pt. = 1000 hours => 200 hours
Age and Aging: modifier for aging HT rolls +TL => +(medical TL-3)

Random Characters
=================
Advantages and Disadvantages (table): Disadvantage #4 Megalomania => Poor

I'm not bothering with the sample characters or the adventures.
****************************************************************************

Success Rolls
=============
Default Rolls: max of 20 for attributes on default rolls added
Automatic Success: automatic success for effective skill 25+ removed

Running: Running skill bonus added (actually clarified)
Lifting and Moving Things: added "Shift Slightly" category, "Pull on Wheels"
  divisor 20/40 => 10/20
Digging: added
Swimming: HT loss => Fatigue loss, roll added 1 minute after success ending a failure series, added rules for combat in water
Holding Your Breath (sidebar): added
Lifesaving: failure -2 HT => -1 ST, -6 HT => -6 ST, critical failure no
  longer requires Swimming roll to recover

Vision: partial darkness modifiers -1 to -5 => -1 to -9, modifiers for Bad
  Sight added

Will Rolls: added
Fright Checks: added
Influence Rolls (sidebar): added
Long Tasks (sidebar): added
Fright Check Table: added

Basic Combat
============
Change Position: attack now allowed on kneeling<=>standing change
Aim: added new Snap Shot rule, Accuracy modifier
All-Out Attack: added +2 damage option
Reloading Time (sidebar): Fast-Draw (Arrow) removed
All-Out Defense: added clarification about parrying twice with weapons which become unready
Hit Penalties (sidebar): standing in water -4 => detailed rules under
  Swimming
Active Defense: added +1 bonus for Combat Reflexes
Dodging: added Acrobatic Dodge option
Blocking: 1/3 => 1/2 Shield skill
Parrying: special parrying rules moved here, added -1 to parries by Knife
Effects of Injury (sidebar): added weapon use after knockdown rules, change
  to unconsciousness at -HTs

Close Combat
------------
Punching: Thrust => Thrust-2 damage, added Brawling and Karate skills as
  alternates to DX roll
Kicking: added Brawling-2 and Karate skill rolls as alternates for DX-2 roll,
  damage Thrust+2 (or +3) => Thrust (or Thrust+1), added skill roll as
  alternate to DX roll to avoid fall on failure
Parrying Bare-Handed: can now parry thrusting attacks without -3 modifier

Advanced Combat
===============
Movement
--------
Change Position: added "Step and  . . . " to kneeling<=>standing position change
Aim: added can move lesser of 2 or 1/2 Move, added Snap Shot/Accuracy rule
The Fast-Draw Skill (sidebar): added speedloaders and magazine to list
Wild Swing (sidebar): added Darkness penalty
All-Out Attack: added +2 damage option
Step and Feint: added Shield Feints
Step and Wait: change to simultaneous attack rule, replaces old Stop Thrust,
  moved opportunity fire here
Long Action: added time for full plate/ultra-tech combat armor
Move: added option of aiming/firing ranged weapons
Costs for Movement (sidebar): added water rules under Bad Footing
Active Defenses: added +1 for Combat Reflexes
Dodging: retreat now separate option, added Acrobatic Dodge
Blocking: 1/3 => 1/2 Shield skill
Retreating: expanded rules, now applies to any active defense, clarification
  – foe's reach unaffected, added limit of once/turn

Hit Locations
-------------
Deciding Where to Attack (sidebar): head => brain, added mention of massive damage in body entry
Hit Penalties for Different Body Parts: now in tables section, major changes,
  head "miss by 1" rule changed and also applied to vitals
(Backpack "armor" PD2/DR2 removed)
Massive Damage (sidebar): added
Advanced Injury Rules (sidebar): head hit rules moved to table section and
  changed: head damage bonuses x2/x3/x4 => x4/x4/x4 for brain hit
Knocking a Weapon Away (sidebar): substantially changed

Close Combat
------------
Choke or Strangle: added suffocation damage
Break Free: added limitation to 1 try/10 secs if pinned
Weapons for Close Combat (sidebar): pistols: now have no modifier in CC,
  brass knuckles: added time to put on, -2 to weapons in that hand,
  blackjack entry changed slightly
Slams: added +2 for medium or large shield, changed effect of ST roll crit
  failure
Flying Tackle: added Dodge defense option and failure modifier, added
  automatic grapple on success by 4+
Trample: "to hit/Dodge" rolls => Contest of DX
(Snap Shots (sidebar): removed)
(Stop Thrusts (sidebar): removed)
Striking Into a Close Combat: miss "flat" 9 to hit others => at best 9 to hit

Ranged Weapons
--------------
Major revisions to stats: PB => SS, INC => ACC
Ranged Attacks on Human Targets (sidebar): added
Pop-Up Attacks (sidebar): can now pop-up with crossbow, Dodge&Retreat no
  longer allowed
Aiming (sidebar): added "Aiming on the Move"
Firing Upward and Downward: added exception for beam weapons
Firing on the Move: added
Firing Through an Occupied Hex: added -8 penalty for sonic weapons
Hitting the Wrong Target: removed critical failure can hit target on ground
Guns: added
Opportunity Fire (sidebar): modifier for one hex -4 => -2, added rule for
  "not automatic" attack
Damage to Shields (sidebar): metal shields available at TL3-4 => 2-4, added
  force shields
Explosions: added

Special Situations
------------------
Suffocation (sidebar): added
Partial Surprise: added modifiers for Combat Reflexes, Tactics skill
Shield Bashing: added parry at -2 for weapons over 2 lbs.
Torches and Flashlights (sidebar): added flashlights
Attack from Above: simple Vision roll => Contest of Skill (Stealth vs.
  Vision), added +2 bonus for looking up

Injuries, Illness and Fatigue
=============================
General Damage: rules for consciousness at negative HT changed
Shock: added IQ penalty for damage taken
Knockout: added
Effects of Crippling Injuries (sidebar): now lowers PC's point value
Medical Care:  table extended to TL15+, assistants rule removed
Recovering from Unconsciousness: added rule for recovering when HT>0
Starvation and Dehydration (sidebar): (moved here), IQ rolls => Survival or Naturalist skill rolls
Dying Actions (sidebar): added
Flame: substantially changed
Heat: added
Freezing: added effects of high-tech armor, temperatures in
  Centigrade => Fahrenheit
Bleeding (sidebar): added
Falling: armor DR effects changed
Fatigue: added prohibition on negative Fatigue, added extra Fatigue point
  gained from eating

Mounted and Vehicle Combat
==========================
almost all added
weapon skills at -2 => skill is minimum of Riding and weapon skill
added swung weapons at -2 skill, +2 damage
added active defenses for riders

Flight
======
all added

Animals
=======
Biting Damage (sidebar): small changes to table, damage impaling => cutting
animal descriptions (sidebars): many minor changes
Animal Training: added daily session times
Encumbrance: added rules for load-pulling equipment, added +2 bonus for
  grain-fed horses
Fantasy Creatures (sidebar): added

Magic
=====
all added

Psionics
========
all added

Game Mastering
==============
The Cinematic Campaign (sidebar): added
Avoiding Character Inflation: added

Game Worlds
===========
Tech Levels: added TLs 11-16+
Travel: added mechanical transport rules
Weather (sidebar): added
Terrain and Travel: modifiers substantially changed
Social Level and Cost of Living: added Modern column to table
Jobs: rules substantially changed
Job Success Rolls: added
Defining New Jobs (sidebar): added

Writing Your Own Adventures
===========================
Features of a Good Adventure (sidebar): added
We're Professionals (sidebar): added

Charts & Tables
===============
Ranged Weapon Attacks: size/speed/range modifiers totally revised
Firearm Critical Miss Table: added
Parts of the Body: substantially changed

NPC Reactions
-------------
Commercial Transactions: added "less favorable" rule, added 50% of fair
  price floor, Merchant-20+ bonus +3 => +2

Ancient/Medieval Hand Weapon Table
----------------------------------
Blackjack: added
Broadsword: Force Sword-3 default added
Fencing: weapon names changed, saber $400 => $700
Lance: added
Shortsword: Force Sword-3 default added
Spear: 2-handed spear damage thr+2 => thr+3; pike entry removed
Two-Handed Axe/Mace: scythe entry added
Two-Handed Sword: Force Sword-3 default added, Whip: added

Ancient/Medieval Ranged Weapon Table
------------------------------------
(all): PB and INC removed, SS and ACC added
Blowpipe: added
Bolas: added
Lasso: added
Net: added
Spear Thrower: added
Spear Throwing: added Spear Thrower-4 default

Modern and Ultra-Tech Weapons: added
Ancient/Medieval Armor: areas covered added, Backpack added to torso list,
  Chainmail without cloth under: PD 0 => PD 3
Modern and Ultra-Tech Armor: added
Fantasy/Medieval Equipment: $= silver farthing => copper farthing, brandy
  added, added -2 penalty to Surgery without doctor's bag,
  grapnel 3 lbs. => 2 lbs., hatchet added, whetstone added
Modern Equipment: added

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