Supporting Cast

Stop Right There!

Sneaks and Watchmen for GURPS

by Paul Stefko

This is the simple truth: combat is deadly. That's why most sane people avoid it whenever possible. This is particularly true in GURPS, which prides itself on realistic combat. If your players are smart, at some point they are going to try to accomplish their goal without being noticed. This may mean scaling a wall and crossing a castle's yard unseen, trekking through wilderness, or picking the lock on a back alley service entrance.

But, as a GM, you want to make things a little tougher for your PCs, even if they are trying to use their brains instead of just brawn. So here's a few NPCs to throw in their way when they're trying to be sneaky. Each includes options for strictly historical games, standard fantasy games and modern games.

Angus, Master of the Hounds


46 points

ST 11 [10]; DX 11 [10]; IQ 10; HT 10.
HP 11; Per 11 [5]; Will 10; FP 10.
BL 24; BS 5.25; Move 5; Dodge 8; Parry 9.

Social Background

TL: 3 [0].
CF: Native [0].
Languages: Native (Native/Broken) [-2].

Advantages: Allies (Ben and Max) [4]; Animal Friend +2 [10]; Patron (very powerful, 6 or less) [8].

Disadvantages: Dependent (wife, 9 or less) [-4]; Duty (to Patron, nonhazardous, 12 or less) [-5]; Compulsive Gambling (9) [-7]; Status -1 [-5].

Skills: Animal Handling-12* (A) IQ [2]; Falconry-12* (A) IQ [2]; Shortsword-12 (A) DX+1 [4]; Veterinary/TL3-12* (H) IQ [4]. * Includes +2 from Animal Friend

Equipment: Baton (dmg 1d+1 cr; 1 lb.); cloth armor (torso, groin; DR 1*; 6 lbs.); leather leggings (legs; DR 1*; 2 lbs.); heavy leather sleeves (arms; DR 2; 2 lbs.).

Ben and Max, Guard Dogs

ST 10; DX 12; IQ 5; HT 12.
Will 10 [25]; Per 12; Dodge 10; Move 10.
SM 0. 90 lbs.

Traits: Combat Reflexes; Domestic Animal; Discriminatory Smell; Quadruped; Sharp Teeth.
Skills: Brawling-14; Tracking-14.

Historical: Angus is the master of hounds for a powerful noble, responsible for training and maintaining his master's hunting dogs. At night, he lets his own large guard dogs out to patrol the castle grounds. He also deals with his master's falcons. Angus is a sullen man with a nagging but loving wife and a taste for dice games.

Fantasy: Angus can be used fairly well as presented in a fantasy campaign, although a GM might consider adding Speak with Animals (Dogs Only, -60%; Magical, -10%) [8] as a magical knack. This would raise his point total to 54 points.

Modern Horror: In a modern horror campaign, Angus is now an independent businessman running his own junkyard in the seedier section of town. He has had some limited exposure to the supernatural. Remove his Patron and Duty as well as his Falconry and Veterinary skills. Lower Animal Friend to +1 (and therefore Animal Handling to 11). Increase his literacy to Native. Shortsword becomes Guns/TL8 (Shotgun)-13. Add Merchant-11, Occultism-11, and Streetwise-10. He carries a 12-gage pump shotgun and wears a ballistic vest.

Cautus, Mage-Scout


115 points

ST 10; DX 12 [40]; IQ 12 [40]; HT 10.
HP 10; Per 12; Will 12; HT 10.
BL 20 lbs.; BS 5.5; Move 5; Dodge 8.

Social Background

TL: 3 [0].
CF: Native [0].
Languages: Native (Native) [0].

Advantages: Fit [5]; Less Sleep 2 [4]; Magery 2 (Solitary, -40%) [17]; Signature Gear (Ranger's Cloak - Hide Path item, Power 15) [12].

Disadvantages: Duty (to lord or commander, 9 or less) [-5]; Loner (6) [-10]; Poor [-15]; Sense of Duty (those in his domain) [-10].

Skills: Area Knowledge (domain)-12 (E) IQ [1]; Bow-14 (A) DX+2 [8]; Observation-12 (A) Per [2]; Stealth-12 (A) DX [2]; Survival (Woodlands)-12 (A) Per [2]; Tracking-12 (A) Per [2]; Traps/TL3-12 (A) IQ [2].

Spells (1 point in each, unless noted, for a skill level of 12, including the +2 for Magery): Find Direction; Haste-15 [8]; Keen Vision; Night Vision; Pathfinder; Quick March; Seek Earth; Seek Pass; Sense Danger; Sense Foes; Watchdog.

Equipment: short bow (dmg 1d-1 imp; 2 lbs.); cloth armor (torso, groin; DR 1*; 6 lbs.); cloth sleeves (arms; DR 1*; 2 lbs.); shoulder quiver (1 lbs.); 4 standard arrows, 8 "bodkin" arrows (1.2 lbs.)

Note: Cautus uses the suggestion on p. 131 of GURPS Fantasy that Signature Gear can buy magic items at 1 character point per 25 energy. If you use a different ratio, adjust Cautus's point total appropriately. Also, he uses the option from p. 26 of the Basic Set that allows a wanderer or Poor character (both in this case) to spend all of his starting wealth on adventuring gear.

Historical: Remove Magery, Signature Gear, and spells. Increase Observation, Stealth and Tracking to 14. This reduces his point total to 86.

Fantasy: Cautus is a ranger for a noble or organization with control over a wide-ranging woodland domain. He is tasked with patrolling this region for poachers and bandits. This lonely lifestyle suits him quite well.

Technomancer: With some minor tweaks, Cautus (now Private James Cautus) makes a fine fit for a military Technomancer campaign, especially one set during the Vietnam conflict (see e23's Funny New Guys). He is now a patrol scout for a firebase or other military outpost in a wilderness area; his Area Knowledge and Survival skills should reflect this area. Bow should be replaced with Guns/TL7 (Rifle)-15. Change Signature Gear to a frag vest of Missile Shield, increase Duty to 15 or less, decrease Poor to Struggling, and change Sense of Duty to (Americans). Add the following skills: Cartography-12 [2]; Electronics Operation/TL7 (Comm)-12 [2]; Forward Observer/TL7-13 [4]; Guns/TL7 (Pistol)-14 [2] (from Rifle default). He carries a 5.56mm assault rifle and a .45 caliber auto pistol sidearm. This increases his point total to 120.

Old Luke, Drunken Master


60 points

ST 9 [-10]; DX 10; IQ 10; HT 9 [-10].
HP 9; Per 12 [10]; Will 10; FP 9.
BL 16 lbs.; BS 6.00 [25]; BM 6; Dodge 9 (10 when drunk); Parry 10.

Social Background

TL: 8 [0].
CF: Native [0].
Languages: Native (Native) [0].

Advantages: Enhanced Dodge (Only when drunk, -20%) [12]; Striking ST +3 (Only when drunk, -20%) [12]; Reputation ("crazy but harmless", everyone in the neighborhood, all the time) [5]; Trained by a Master (Only when drunk, -20%) [24].

Disadvantages: Alcoholism [-15]; Curious (12) [-5]; Dead Broke [-25]; Pacifism (Cannot Kill) [-15].

Skills: Boxing-14 (A) DX+4 [16]; Fast-Talk-12 (A) IQ+2 [8]; Scrounging-14 (A) Per+2 [4]; Wrestling-12 (A) DX+2 [8].

Techniques: Arm Lock (Wrestling)-16 [4]; Disarming (Boxing)-17 [4]; Feint (Boxing)-17 [4]; Finger Lock (Wrestling)-16 [4].

Historical: Old Luke would find a nice home in a GURPS China game. Possibly add some Philosophy and Theology skills.

Fantasy: The kung fu monk has become a staple of many fantasy games, so Luke would fit fairly easily into most campaigns. A reasonable change would be to switch his Boxing over to the Staff skill, and maybe add the Sweep technique in place of Finger Lock.

Modern Cinematic: Old Luke has been written off by society. He lives on handouts and out of dumpsters, scraping together enough each day to buy food and alcohol. The food he eats quickly, but the liquor he hordes. He has a milk crate stashed in nearly every alley. What no one knows is that when the booze takes hold of him, Old Luke is a flurry of fists. When he sticks his nose in the wrong places (something that happens with alarming frequency) he is quite adept at working his way back out.

Article publication date: July 20, 2007

Copyright © 2007 by Steve Jackson Games. All rights reserved. Pyramid subscribers are permitted to read this article online, or download it and print out a single hardcopy for personal use. Copying this text to any other online system or BBS, or making more than one hardcopy, is strictly prohibited. So please don't. And if you encounter copies of this article elsewhere on the web, please report it to