Is there a way in GURPS to create a mage with a default level of skill in a specific magical college? I'm imagining something like an earth wizard who can attempt any earth college spell at a -3 penalty (since normally there is no default for magic).

I am particularly interested in GURPS 4e, but if there are solutions from other editions I would also like to hear them as I can probably make them work.

  • \$\begingroup\$ Which edition are you asking about? \$\endgroup\$
    – gomad
    Nov 10, 2012 at 22:33
  • \$\begingroup\$ I'm thinking about GURPS 4e in particular, but if there's any GURPS system answer I can probably make it work. \$\endgroup\$ Nov 11, 2012 at 0:17

2 Answers 2


You want to use the Ritual Magic system found on page 200 of GURPS Magic.

The features of the system are

  • There is a base skill for example Thamuatology
  • Each college of GURPS Magic is a IQ/VH skill defaulting off of the base skill. A college skill can't be raised higher than the base skill.
  • Individual spells default off the college skill at a default equal to its prerequisite count. For example Ignite Fire is 0, and Fireball is 3. So if you have a skill of 14 in the Fire College you can cast Ignite Fire at 14 and Fireball at 11.
  • Individual spells can be improved as techniques up to the level of the college skill.

The prerequisite count is found on the spell tables in the back of GURPS Magic.

  • 2
    \$\begingroup\$ This is the right answer... but if you want a more generic "any spell" type answer, there's always the "Magic!" (note the ! mark) "bang skill." \$\endgroup\$
    – Ghotir
    Aug 30, 2016 at 18:12

For GURPS 4th edition, see Thaumatology p. 179 for syntactic magic and p.188 for Realms, which would cover a broad area of expertise like Earth.

It's not a default, per se, nor is it exactly collegiate magic, but I think it expresses the intention of what you are after pretty well.


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