GURPS Javascript Character Sheet Package (JCSP) Tutorial

In this tutorial you will create a character sheet for Baron Janos Telkozep, one of the GURPS® 4th Edition iconic characters, from scratch using the JCSP package. Open a separate browser window or tab and follow the directions.

Contents

  1. Open a character sheet
  2. Create a new Character
  3. Edit Character and Game Information, Basic Attributes, and Secondary Characteristics
  4. Languages and Cultural Familiarities
  5. Traits
  6. Skills
  7. Equipment
  8. Display Preferences
  9. Saving and Opening Character Files

Open a character sheet

To use a sheet that is on a website such as this one, simply click on one of the character sheet links. To use a locally saved JCSP sheet (not a saved character; we’ll discuss this later), open the sheet you want as a local file. (In Chrome or Firefox, for instance, go to File → Open File… and browse to one of the character sheet files. They look like “[csheet]4e2pg.html” or similar.) Your page should now look like a GURPS character sheet.

Create a new Character

Strictly speaking, this step isn’t necessary; most likely* a new Character has instantiated in the page when you opened it. But we’ll do this anyway, so that we can set a few parameters. (All of these parameters can be edited later, if you prefer.)

In the blue menubar above the character sheet, go to File → New Character. A dialog box will appear, with a short form. Here you should enter Telkozep’s name, point value, and gender, and you can also elect to use the built-in Vampire template. Telkozep’s Ruleset is GURPS 4th Edition, and his Tech Level is 8. When the form is filled out, click on the “Create Baron Janos Telkozep” button.

Dialog boxes can be dragged around, so that you can see what’s happening to the sheet behind them. Grab them by their title bar.

* If you are using a window or tab where another JCSP Character file was viewed previously, this Character may appear first. Save (if you want) and then create a new Character.
† If you want to build the Vampire template yourself instead, go here.

Edit Character and Game Information, Basic Attributes, and Secondary Characteristics

Note that loading the Vampire template has already altered several of Telkozep’s Basic Attributes. His Strength should be 16, his Hit Points should be 20, and his Perception should be 13. The sheet has also calculated his Unspent Points by subtracting the value of the Vampire template from Telkozep’s Point Total.

Notice that there are two different types of fill-in (colored) text on the sheet. The more typeset-looking text is non-editable; these values are calculated by the sheet. There are many fields with text that should look more hand-written, and that light up when you mouse over them; these fields can be edited. All of the Character information fields (Name, Appearance, etc.) are editable. At this point you can change Telkozep’s name, his point total, add text for appearance, etc. Let’s set Telkozep’s height and weight (if you have chosen a 4th Edition sheet). The Height field should already be filled, but with a generic value. You can edit this with a new height either in feet and inches (5‘8” for Telkozep) or just inches (68). Values in inches will get converted to feet and inches for display. Weight is similar; if you type ‘197’, the ‘lb’ unit will be added. You can type anything here, though, and it will be used; a few trivial things won’t work if these values aren’t numeric. (Telkozep turned 445 years old in 2016…)

Now for Basic Attributes. The values are non-editable; you change them by changing the points put into each attribute. Put 40 points in ST, 20 in DX, and 100 in IQ; those stats should now read ST 20, DX 11, IQ 15. 4th Edition sheets will have a field for points in Will; put 5 there for Will 16.

Telkozep is much faster than his stats would suggest; he has 55 points in Basic Speed. If you edit that points field, his Basic Speed should go up to 8. Note that Basic Lift, Damage, and Basic Move have all been calculated for you.

Languages and Cultural Familiarities

Select the Build → Languages menu option. This dialog box has a menu of choices which will probably be empty; most Languages and Cultures will be loaded as part of a supplemental library. We will add Telkozep’s languages manually. Open the Language Options part of the form, if it is not already open. To add English, type ‘English’ in the Language name field, select the ‘advantage’ option (3rd Edition languages are skills, not traits), and set the Language comprehension levels at Spoken: accented and Written: ‘native’. Make sure the checkbox just below the menu area is unchecked; English is NOT Telkozep’s native language. Click on the ‘Take English’ button.

English should appear in the Languages area of the character sheet, with a cost of 5 points. The dialog box should remain open; we can now just edit fields and add several languages. French should be very much like English, except both comprehension levels are ‘native’. When you add Hungarian, tick the ‘native language’ checkbox and then type the name. (Select then type; clicking the checkbox clears the form.) The comprehension levels should set to ‘native’ for you; if you select values below this for a native language, you gain points instead of spending them, because that would be a disadvantage. Un-tick the ‘native’ checkbox before continuing - the Language selection process is still a bit buggy; you shouldn’t be able to select more than one native language, but you can. Continue by adding Latin (Broken, Native) and Russian (Broken, Semi-literate). Close the Languages dialog.

Now select the Build → Cultural Familiarities menu option. Again there is a menu, most likely empty, and a very simple form. Enter ‘18th-Century Europe’ and tick the native culture checkbox, then click ‘Take’. The form should change slightly to reflect that Telkozep already has a native culture at this point. Enter “Homeline” and select the ‘foreign’ option, then click ‘Take’. The point values should be zero (Europe) and 1 (Homeline).

Traits

To add Traits, select the Build → Ads/Disads menu option. The dialog box has a select box of Traits; green for Advantages, red for Disadvantages. You can type the first few letters of the item you want, in most browsers, to scroll to it. You may need to click on an option in the list first. Scroll and select the “Charisma” advantage. Notice that a small menu labeled ‘levels’ appears. Telkozep has 3 levels of Charisma, so select option 3. The total cost changes to reflect your choice. Click on ‘Take Charisma’. The Trait should appear on the sheet, and the dialog box should remain open, ready for more choices.

Telkozep’s next several Traits are quite similar to Charisma. Independent Income, 10 levels; Legal Enforcement Powers, level 3; Mind Control (no levels); Striking Strength, 5 levels.

The next Trait, Temperature Control 3, has some Limitations. Choose Temperature Control in the select list, and notice that the Enhancements/Limitations part of the form gets a few items put in it. The first two are ‘Cold Only’ and ‘Heat Only’. We want ‘Cold Only’; to get it, we must tick the checkbox to their left, and then select the correct radio button.

How do we attach the ‘Uncontrollable’ Limitation? It isn’t in the list, so we will add it as a custom Limitation. Click on the “+ Enhancements/Limitations” heading; a new text-box row will appear. Enter ‘Uncontrollable’ in the long text box, and ‘-10’ in the small one. Select 3 levels. Make sure the checkboxes to the left of 'Cold Only' and 'Uncontrollable' are ticked, (note that the effective cost is now '6 points') then click on the 'Take Temperature Control' button.

The Wealth (Filthy Rich) advantage should be easy to add.

Continue by adding Telkozep’s Disadvantages. Telkozep has three Disads with self-control rolls: Berserk, Bloodlust, and Greed. All of these Disads, when selected, call up a list of Multipliers with the various self-control levels. Note that you must select a self-control level with these Disads. These modifiers are printed in a special way, due to the abbreviated notation GURPS uses to show these on character sheets. Instead of a complete modifier note, like “(Self-control: 9 or less)”, these Disads are shown with just the self-control number: “(9)”.

A few Quirks are listed in the Traits menu, but most are unique. To add a new Quirk, select the Build → Perks/Quirks menu option. Type the text for the Quirk in the text area on the dialog box, and click the ‘add’ button. The dialog box will remain open so you can add several Quirks at a go.

Ordering Traits

Telkozep should have all of his Traits now, but they are not in the order that they appear on the character sheet in Basic Set: Characters. We can fix that. Click on the heading for the Traits area in the sheet. (This may say “ADS, DISADS, PERKS & QUIRKS”, or it may say “ADVANTAGES AND PERKS”, or something else depending on which sheet you are using.) A dialog box titled “Edit Traits List” will appear, with a long list of Telkozep’s Traits in it. Note that there are a number of things shown here that do not actually appear in his Traits list, per se. The Vampire meta-trait is shown with all of its sub-Traits, for instance. There are also two entries for each of Telkozep’s Languages, and one for each Culture. Languages and Cultures do not appear in the Traits area, so moving them around here will have no effect that you can see. But you can re-order the other Traits here by dragging the rows in this table.

N.B. This feature is still a bit buggy. For best results, make several changes and click “Apply list edits”, then close the dialog and re-open it to continue.

You can also insert spacer rows and headings in the “Edit Traits List” dialog. These will display as expected in a ‘combined’ Traits display where Ads and Disads are shown together; in a ‘partitioned’ Traits sheet (like the official one) these formatting rows may behave unpredictably.

Skills

The dialog for attaching Skills to a character is at Build → Skills/Spells. Skill and Spell lists are toggled here using the control in the title bar of the dialog box. The list is sorted alphabetically by default, but can be sorted various other ways using the control at top right. Scroll to the Administration Skill and select it. Information about this Skill (IQ/Average) appears under the list box. Since any IQ-based skill that is harder than Easy can be specialized, an Optional Specialization tickbox also appears. Telkozep did not choose to specialize his Administration Skill, so leave this alone for now. JCSP will put a few points into each Skill you take; this may save you some time later - choose 1, 2, or 4 points in the menu at the bottom right of the list box. Click the ‘Take Administration skill’ button.

Notice that the Baron’s skill level with Administration is 17 when he has 1 point in it. This is higher than his IQ would normally give. A dagger should appear beside the skill level. If you mouse over the skill level, a pop-up will inform you that the unusual value is due to Telkozep’s Business Acumen Talent.

Area Knowledge (Hungary) is next. When you scroll to and select Area Knowledge in the list box, a text entry with title 'Choose an area:' appears below the box. This is because Area Knowledge requires a specialization. Enter 'Hungary' in the box and take the skill.

Enter Telkozep’s other skills. If you forget to set the points correctly for some of them, no worries; these can be easily edited later. The required Tech Level for Current Affairs should automatically be set to Telkozep’s TL of 8; you can always change this if you want. You will want to do so when you take the Guns skill, for instance (Telkozep has Guns/TL5).

You may have noticed that some Skills disappear from the menu list when you take them, and others get an asterisk instead. This is because some skills can be taken multiple times, usually because of specializations.

After you close the dialog box, you will need to edit the points for at least two skills, since Telkozep has more than 4 points in each of Intimidation and Occultism, and zero points in Merchant. Telkozep’s Occultism Skill requires special treatment, since he has a (required) specialization in a skill that normally only takes optional specializations. Click on the Occultism Skill in Telkozep’s Skill list. The ‘Edit Occultism Skill’ dialog will open. Choose the ‘Edit Occultism Skill’ option. Type ‘Vampirism’ in the Specialization text box and click the Edit button.

Check Telkozep’s points; when the Skills are finished he should have used all of them.

Equipment and Belongings

Telkozep doesn't have any stuff in the Basic Set version, but let's give him some so we can see how this part of JCSP works.

First, a gun. Go to Equip → Weapons. Let's sort this list by TL, so we can take a TL 5 pistol. A Derringer seems like it might match Telkozep’s style; we'll take one. The pistol may show up in several places on the character sheet, depending on which one you are using. Even if its weight and cost are listed multiple times, it only counts once towards the totals.

Something else Telkozep must have is a coffin, filled with Hungarian soil. This won't appear in the list under Equip → Basic Equipment, so we will need to use the Custom Equipment form in that dialog box. A coffin filled with dirt will be very heavy, let's say 800 lbs. Add this to his stuff.

You may notice that Telkozep’s encumbrance has suffered. The box no longer highlights one row indicating his current encumbrance; instead it says he is carrying too much to move. (Though you may notice that if he drops the Derringer, he can get around. Vampires are strong!) Of course, Telkozep won't carry the coffin around anyway, it will be well-hidden somewhere safe. So, let's define some collections, so he can carry some of his belongings around on his person.

Go to Equip → Manage Collections. We want to define a new Collection or two. Most of the way down this dialog, there is a button labeled "Create a new empty collection". Type a collection name (carried?) in the text box to the right and then click on the button. The Collection menu at top right now has your new collection selected. If you click on items in the Default collection at left, they will be duplicated in the new collection. Click on the Derringer to put it in this collection. Now close the dialog.

Now if you mouse over the Equip menu heading and mouse down to Equip with Collection, a flyout menu shows the Default collection and the new 'carried' collection. Click on the 'carried' collection there. The immediate effect is that the coffin seems to have disappeared; the character has it stored, but it is not being carried right now. Telkozep’s encumbrance goes back to None.

If we want Telkozep to ready his Derringer, we can show this too. Mouse over the Derringer on the character sheet; in at least one of the places where it is listed a pop-up will say "shift-click to wield Derringer". Do what it says, and the Derringer gets highlighted (and on some sheets, gains a location of 'wielded'). Telkozep’s Parry goes from 9 (his bare-hand parry from Brawling) to '-'; because he cannot use a gun to parry with. If this were a sword, or a shield, his parry and/or block would adjust according to what he has readied.

Display Preferences

You can customize how you want to see your character sheet in a number of ways. Go to Edit → Preferences. The ‘Preferences’ dialog is active, so any changes you make here are immediately applied. Play around with color themes, watermarking, and showing various supplemental sheet pages.

Character Art

Some sheets have a space for character art. All sheets can have character art displayed as a ‘watermark’ (a lightened background image). Go to File → Add Character Art; a simple dialog opens. This one can be a little confusing, as a result of the limitations imposed on web pages for opening local files. You can browse to find the image file you want, but (in most browsers) only the file name will get put in the text box. You will need to figure out the path information to add, either by noting it when you were browsing, or by using an absolute path. Relative paths are based on the location of the character sheet HTML file.

If you have a local set of JCSP files, and you have placed the image you want to use in the ‘characters/images/’ directory (this is where the images for the Iconic Characters are), try writing ‘../characters/images/[filename]’ in the textbox. If you want to use the Telkozep image from my website, the URL is http://www.cox-thurmond.net/jim/jcsp/JCSP_1.5/characters/images/telkozep.png.

Saving and Opening Character Files

You can save character files just like you would if JCSP was software installed on your computer. Go to File → Save As File. In most up-to-date browsers, a file download dialog will open; most of these ask if you if you want to open the file or save it. (The Save function works oddly, or not at all, in old versions of most browsers.) The file name will usually be something like ‘Telkozep.gurps’, or similar; JCSP tries to figure out the character’s ‘surname’ and uses that. Save the file the way you normally would.

To open this file later, just go to File → Open Character File. A file browse window will open; find your file and select it. JCSP will load your character from the local file and show it in the sheet. You can then edit the file and save it again, if you like. Due to the fact that JCSP is browser-based and not local software, there may be some quirks to this process (file names may need to be changed, locations may get forgotten, etc.).

For those who are interested, the format of the saved Character file is plain ol’ JSON. If you are familiar with JSON, feel free to mess around with your saved files directly; most of the organization and keys are sensible (I think) and pretty easy to understand. You can view what will be saved by going to File → View JSON File.