Wednesday, May 18, 2016

Racial Template: Avian

Finding a decent example was
unusually difficult.
The other half of what was promised, an avian template. There aren't as many good models for an avian racial template in GURPS (that I can find) as there are for Bunny-Folk to rip off borrow from for designing this template, so a lot of it is pretty unique, but I can still try to fish for support somewhere, and maybe try being creative for a change!


So for me, I actually don't know a lot about classic fantasy fixtures and tropes for birdmen. I looked up a bit on TVTropes, and pieced together the little bit I do know about them from what I've seen, and come up with this list of bird traits that might be iconic of bird races.
  • Winged Flight (Duh?)
  • Voice, being as birds can sing, and several are especially good at mimicry
  • Hollow bones (Crushing damage vulnerability?)
  • Great eyesight
  • Obsessions with shiny objects (I think this is more of a crow thing?)
  • Memory problems
So, that's some pretty good fodder to work with, additionally, Alternate Dungeons II, as alluded to in the previous post does have a Tengu racial template, but tengu aren't necessarily avian, though most have wings, and even a small association with crows, plus that template has a lot of the spiritual components associated with tengu as well, so not a 1:1 fit, but some of the mechanical pieces can be reused.

Putting It Together

So here's a look at constructing a Racial Template with a budget of 50 points, and a goal of coming to a number evenly divisible by 5.


40 points
Attribute Modifiers:  HT+1[10].
Advantages:  Acute Vision 2 [4]; Flight(Slow, Air Move equals Basic Speed, -25%; Winged, -25%)[20], Mimicry[10], Teeth(Sharp Beak) [1], Voice[10].
Disadvantages:  Vulnerability (Crushing Attacks x 1.5)[-15].
Features: Feathers

Avian Power-Ups

Avians can buy the following racial power-ups:
  • Damage Resistance 1 or 2 (Tough Skin, -40%) [3] or [6] due to feathers
  • Normal Flight Speed[10]
    • This is removing the Slow limitation from the Flight advantage, allowing an avian to travel at double ground move in the air.
    • Alternatively, or in addition, Enhanced Move (Air) 1 [20] can double your movement speed as well, although it costs more. 
  • Up to 5 levels of Telescopic vision [5/level]

Other Thoughts

You could probably come up with a lot more specific sub-lenses if you wanted to focus on avian people based on a particular type of bird (Raptor Avians are good at hunting and seeing; Song Bird Avians have good musical and vocal capabilities; Owl Avians can rotate their head in all directions and see well in the dark; Corvid Avians have incredible social intelligence and can suss out motives and have vast social networks) but I went with a very wide brush. I'd say if there was a more "fundamental" template, it'd probably be only the beak, winged flight, and vulnerability, making it 6 points, but that by itself does not have enough personality I think.


  1. I like the idea of Slow flight, and maybe instead of removing the slow for [10] they could purchase Enhanced Move (Air) at half or full level, allowing them to speed up, but not changing their Basic Move.

    1. That's another good take, it'd cost the same, but give a different feel!

    2. Exactly what I was thinking.


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