GURPS/Snowcrash: Character Ideas

This is not an exhaustive list, by any means. It is just a list of ideas to get you started.

Last updated: 21-Mar-99.

Different Ages

Starting characters can either be young and inexperianced, or older and more experianced. Young characters are classic GURPS 100/30/5 constructs. Older characters are still limited to 100 points, but will have more disadvantages; often enimies, physical or mental deformaties, or other baggage.

Backgrounds for Young Characters

To get started, you might want to take a look at different ideas for what a character did before they started adventuring. Below are some ideas. They are slightly specific to The Flats, but are adaptable:

HQ Brat

The children of the rich, or at least the upper middle class. Take lots of skills in university type subjects, some money and material items. Relationships with parents are always interesting for this group; adventurers have probably already been kicked out of home. Parents might be good for one more begging session, of course!

Major franchises HQed in the flats include: Stafnord (University), Jamba Juice (Shake Drinks), Loud Sterios (Sterio Equipment for Teenagers), USMetaverse (Metaverse development), etc.

Low End Refus

You are a poor third worlder, who has somehow managed to make it to the flats. These characters tend to be more tword the thugs, drivers, and other relatively low skill characters. These characters usually start out poor, and with an undocumented alien type disadvantage.

As a player, you should first determine how the character got to the flats. (Why is simple: money, standard of living, the American dream (tm).) The character may have been suggled overland through Mexico, or packed on a boat, or come across with forged paperwork.

High End Refus

You are the children of the upper crust of some third world country. Your parents have arranged for you to come to The Flats, probably for schooling or a work internship. What you do once you get here has more to do with your (their) money supply, and what you think of the land of excesses. Sex, drugs, money, ideas, freedom. There is a lot more of these things here, than there.

Average Crew

You could be just an average burger flipper, in need of some extra excitement in your life. Or, you might work in something which gives you some useful skills. Some examples include:

Any security firm, a metaverse development shop, any news organization, etc.


Students will be studying at one of the many technical schools, colleges, and universities in the flats They can be studying anything, of course, but these degrees represent some interesting possiblities:

  • Documentery Film Making
  • Aircraft Mechanic
  • Anything Technical (like Metaverse Design/Implementation)
  • Anything Scientific (ChemEng, BioEng, etc.)
  • Law Enforcement

    (Activist, described below, makes a great mix-in with this character.)

    Backgrounds for Older Characters

    These are generally people who are either burnt out, blackballed or used up, by the franchised world.


    (Example: David Dov..'s character from the movie Playing God.)

    A doctor just finishing residency, at the end of a 36 hour shift, might have made a small mistake, which got an important person killed. Such a doctor would be blackballed.
    (Example: ____ ____ from the movie Aliens Three.

    This could be expanded to any other proffessional who goes through an apprentaceship program, although it works better for gruelling (hazing type) apprentaceships.

    Media Creatures, Software Engineers, etc.

    These proffessions are all subject to burn out after 5-10 years. (Other professions: like frachise short order cook can burn out much quicker, but these employees are not valued enough to warrent the term "burn out".)

    The Scape Goat

    Sometimes the Franchise has to blame someone, and the character might be that person. Such characters will have a high skill level in something professional, but will be blacklisted from actually working in that field.


    The ideas here, could be fleshed out into a character, but are better suited to being a "mix-in": part of a character. They can provide some depth, modivation, and hooks for both the player and GM.

    Terrorist or Activist

    A terrorist uses force and violance. An activist uses the media. There is an interesction, where activists stage violent protests, but for the most part, you can think of terrorist as being a special type of solder, and an activist as being a special type of media.

    Characters which were more on the terrorist side of things, are likely to be either retired or "in hiding" as they adventure. In either case, they should have powerful enemies who are actively searching for them, and possibly wounds from the conflict (mental or physical). But, they are unlikely to do terrorist things while adventuring.

    Characters which were more on the activist side of things, are likely to still be active even as they adventure. However, their enimies will be less vicious, and they are unlikely to have wounds or psychologica scars. Minor arrest warrents is more like it.

  • Ecology, Big corporations, genetic engineering, etc.
  • Mostly Lands: Palastinian, Kurd, Basque, American Indian, Canadian Indian, Austrailian Indian, etc.
  • Mostly People: Mayan, Hutu, Tutsi, etc.
  • Francophone (vs. English, in the metaverse and industry)

    Steal These characters (Samples and Examples)

    This section contains some sample and example characters for you to steal. Usually they are taken from books or movies that you can read or watch to get details.

    From the book, Snowcrash

    CIS Stringer/Gargoyle

    Example: Lagos


    Example: Y.T.

    Franchise Worker

    Franchise Manager

    Examples: Jason 'The Iron Pumper' Breckenridge

    Franchise Owner


    Examples: Ng, Mr. Lee, Rife


    Examples: Tranny

    Rock Star

    Examples: Sushi K, Vitaly Chernobyl


    Metaverse Developers

    Examples: Juanita, Da5id.

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