Steve Jackson Games GURPS – Generic Universal RolePlaying System

GURPS Character Builder FAQ – Cover

GURPS Character Builder FAQ

Updated October 10, 2005

Q. What is the relationship between this program and GURPS Character Assistant?
A. GURPS Character Builder (GCB) and GURPS Character Assistant (GCA) are two different programs, created by different people. GCB cannot be "patched" to GCA. And sorry, no, we're not going to distribute discounted copies of A to those who own B, any more than we distributed discounted copies of 4e to the 3e users. And for pretty much the same reasons: we decided it was time to start over from the ground up. Our future support will go to GCA.

Q. Can I make and distribute my own data files for GURPS Character Builder? What about data files for GURPS Fourth Edition?
A. If it is possible to create 4e templates for GCB, we are happy that there are those who want to do it, and we have no desire to exercise any more control over the creation and distribution of such templates than we do over other GCB templates. Fans are welcome to create GCB templates and to host online collections of templates, provided the provisions of our Online Policy are followed. We ask that no one post a template unless they are willing to have it hosted in others' collections, and we ask that those who host collections have the courtesy to credit the original creators. We will link good collections from the GCB page, to make provide community support.

Q. What are system requirements, exactly?
A. System requirements are:

  • Operating System: Windows 95/98/ME/NT/2000/XP.
  • Memory: 32MB RAM.
  • Disk space: approximately 50MB free (depending on the configuration of the user's hard disk).
  • Processor: 100MHz or faster Pentium or equivalent.
  • CD-ROM drive.
  • Screen resolution: Minimum: 640x480. Recommended: 800x600 or greater with 64K colors or more.

Q. Is this the same program that Hero was formerly selling as "GURPS Creator"?
A. Yes. It's been tested and updated, and many new features have been added, but it's the same underlying program written by Bruce Kvam.

Q. Why isn't Hero selling it any longer?
A. Hero has encountered various business difficulties. SJ Games never got any licensing reports or payment from the copies of "GURPS Creator" that were sold. The author didn't get nearly everything he was promised, either. So we canceled our deal with Hero and worked with Bruce to create this new version.

Q. What have you added?
A. There are literally hundreds of new features and fixes. The most obvious ones are expanded die roller functions, the shortcuts menu interface, a new spreadsheet-like interface for entering data into data sheets, multiple item selection, drag and drop for item lists, associated files (for sidekicks), and so on. There are 200 character illustrations; the manual has been reworked; it's available on CD rather than just as a download; it includes a lot of PDFs that you can print out to get GURPS Lite, various character and GM sheets, and so on. Having said all that . . . if you have the Hero version, you don't absolutely HAVE to have this version . . . it's just better. Which is good, because . . .

Q. Why is the first printing of GCB numbered Version 2.1.4?
A. The version numbering was based on the predecessor program.

Q. Is there a demo version?
A. Yes. It's about 10 megs in size; you can download it here. It will let you design characters, but not save or print them. You are, by the way, encouraged to share the demo, as long as you don't charge for it or make changes in it.

Q. Is there a discount for "GURPS Creator" buyers to get the new program?
A. No. We got neither licensing fees nor sales reports from Hero. We don't even know who legitimately bought the old program, and we cannot support it or offer a discount for it.

Q. Does it contain every skill from every book ever published?
A. Probably not EVERY skill. It draws from GURPS Basic Set, GURPS Magic, GURPS Supers, GURPS Grimoire, GURPS Martial Arts, GURPS Compendium I, GURPS Psionics, GURPS Wizards, and GURPS Warriors . . . but anything that didn't make it into one of those books is not in here. If you find a missing skill that you think should have been here, please write to us at so we can consider it for future updates.

Q. Can I see a complete feature list?
A. How's this?

  • Basic functionality: complete, interactive character design according to the GURPS Basic Set and the Compendia. Point values are computed properly. Prints out as a standard GURPS character sheet. Characters may be saved and modified.
  • Customization features:
    • Ability to create data sheets for campaign-specific items
    • Ability to create or customize character sheet templates
    • Ability to create or customize print templates
  • GM assistance features:
    • Name finder
    • Die roller (defaults to 3d6)
  • PDF files that the user may print.
    • Manual for GURPS Character Builder itself
    • blank character sheets, both 1-sided and 2-sided
    • GURPS Lite
    • blank GM control sheet
    • time use sheet
    • grimoire sheet
    • NPC record card (4-up)
    • campaign planning form (fantasy and space versions)
    • martial arts record sheet (p. MA157)
    • planetary record sheet (p. S176)
    • Mass Combat System force roster (p. CII129)
    • the two spell tables, from GURPS Magic and GURPS Grimoire
    • "Players Wanted" flyer
  • A library of character images. The user can browse images, or select them by keyword, and attach his chosen image to a character sheet.
  • Live links to various places on the SJ Games site, as appropriate, including:
    • (for updates)
    • Most of the standard GURPS resources, such as the abbreviation list

Q. I don't agree with some of the advantage and disadvantage costs. Can I change them?
A. A character that comes out of the unmodified version of this program is "official," and uses the official point costs. Having said that, you CAN modify your own copy of the program to change many costs, and create new items.

Q. Will I be able to input my own homebrew advantages, disadvantages, and so on?
A. For one-off homebrew items, a "Generic Item" can be added, renamed and given its own cost. Users can also create new items in their own data sheets. These new items can be selected just like the standard items. Users can customize everything, including character sheets, data sheets and the print templates. Users get all the same tools to create game system templates that the developers do.

Q. Is equipment supported? How extensive is the equipment list?
A. Yes, equipment is supported. There are more than 400 items in the equipment list, including weapons, armor, runestones, elixirs, clothing, etc. Users can also add new equipment in data sheets.

Q. What about spells – are they supported? How extensive is the spell list?
A. Yes, spells are supported. All the spells from GURPS Magic and GURPS Grimoire are here.

Q. Is SJ Games planning to add upgrades later with more skills, advantages, and so on?
A. Probably, but please don't ask us for details yet . . .

Q. Why isn't there a Mac or Linux version?
A. Because it was written from the ground up for Windows, and there's no convenient translation path. Sorry, that's the straight answer. We took this over from Hero, and Hero apparently had no interest in systems other than Windows. (Economically, it's easy to understand why, but since our own office is largely Mac, we wish things were different.)

Users of other operating systems need not give up completely, though; see our emulator page for information on apparently-compatible emulators.

Q. What language is this in?
A. C++.

Q. Will source be available?
A. When hell freezes over! Seriously, the underlying program remains the property of its creators and will not be distributed – only the design template is the property of SJ Games.

Q. How will the program be supported?
A. The software's authors receive a royalty on sales and will continue to be involved in support, whatever that entails. There is a support page where we'll post upgrades, patches, or whatever, and there is a Pyramid discussion group for it.

We suggest and request that you register your copy of the program when you buy it.

Q. Will you add Traveller support at some point?
A. Classic Traveller, no; Far Future Enterprises still owns the original Traveller. GURPS Traveller maybe . . . but except for specific Traveller terms, weapon and vehicle names, etc., you can use the existing program perfectly well with Traveller.

Q. What about a program to automate the GURPS Vehicles design system?
A. Your wish is our command! Check out the GURPS Vehicle Builder.

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