More than Meets the Character Sheet

Intelligent Transforming Robot Characters in GURPS

by Reverend P. Kitty

A transforming robot campaign, as popularized by shows like Go-Bots and Transformers, can be a fun twist on a typical genre. War is arguably more fun when both sides are giant robots who can turn into fighter jets and tanks. Building them can be tricky without the right approach, however.


Buy each additional mode as Alternate Form (Once On, Stays On, +50%; Reduced Time 4, +80%) [35]. Because "Once On, Stays On" changes the template cost from 90% to 100%, there's no need to specify a "native" racial template, which allows for freedom to simplify.

Then define the rest of the core character (personality, knowledge, and other intangible qualities) and create a template for each mode. Putting the two together will create a complete character sheet, representing this particular robot in this particular mode.

Core Character Sheet

This should only have things which carry over between modes. It must contain:

If any other traits (including ST) are the same in all modes, it's simplest to put them on this sheet as well.

As skills appear here, so should DX. Especially dexterous modes can include an attribute modifier.

Mode Templates

Subtract the Core Character Cost from your campaign point limit and spend that many points on each Mode Template.

This collection of ST and physical traits define the mode's form and what it can do. Nothing here should overlap or be incompatible with any of the Core Character traits. It's okay if things overlap or disagree between Mode Templates, since only one will be in use at any given time.

Note that you never buy Alternate Form as part of a Mode Template.


Your robot now comprises a core personality and multiple modes. Put them together, transform, and roll out!

Article publication date: March 9, 2007

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