Cost: 10 points/level

Affliction is a physical, exotic advantage that grants an attack that causes a baneful, nondamaging effect such as blindness, paralysis, weakness, etc. ([[GURPS Characters|B]35-36)

Referenced in GURPS Powers™, pp. 9, 17, 21, 31, 39-41, 118, and 169. Affliction is subject to a wide range of enhancements and limitations and is often used to build superpowers or other unnatural effects, and is the base advantage used to build 'buff' style powers that benefit your allies.

GURPS Power-Ups 4 page 21 introduced Density Increase and Itching and Slower Move enhancements.

Advantage activation timeEdit


  • Diminuation (p. P143), a Shrinking affliction, causes the subject to shrink over a period of 6 seconds.
  • Frog (p. P143), an Alternate Form affliction, doesn't mention a transformation time.
  • Matter Transmission (p. P147), a Warp affliction, includes a penalty for no preparation time.
  • Body of Wood (Sorcery, p. 23), an Alternate Form affliction, doesn't mention a transformation time when cast as a spell, but does when used as the basis for a magic item.

Matter Transmission is the most instructive:

If the wielder wins a Quick Contest of Will vs. his target’s HT, he may try an immediate IQ roll to teleport the subject
The +10 for Reliable cancels the -10 for no preparation.
The user can send the subject to any place he can see or has visited, subject to his range limit, and can cancel range modifiers by spending his own FP.

This shows it is the user of Affliction who rolls to use the ability, rather than the afflicted person, but they can benefit from buying reliable on the advantage, even though you can't buy reliable for Affliction itself (you buy levels, or Talent).


as naloth pointed out in 2006

"the former is resisted and doesn't let the user teleport"

However that may simply refer to a single warp!


mentions inverting the HT roll. Penalty becomes bonus, and the HT roll must succeed to get the power instead of failing to get the power. Happens with the willing. mentions potential Size Modifier restrictions

5.2.7. Can I Afflict myself?

Sure. But you lose all the niceties of having a personal Advantage and get all the effects of being Afflicted (HT roll, uncontrollability after activation, variable duration etc.).



Enhancement (enhancement) is suggested in 2010 by PK in

You couldn't have "an Affliction that adds Reliable 4 to whatever advantage the subject is using," but it would be reasonable (if a bit complicated) to have "an Affliction that adds Reliable 4 to Danger Sense." In this case, you'd calculate the value of Reliable 4 (+20% on a 15 point advantage = +3 points) and then build an Affliction with "Advantage, Adds Reliable 4 to Danger Sense, +30%."

Limitation (enhancement) could be done through the same pattern, treating it as a disadvantage and making it specific to an ability.

Going further with the Modifier (enhancement) approach to Affliction (in all these cases to avoid confusion you would substitute the name) it opens up more possibilities:


PK mentions in 2006

The Resistable limitation prices each +1 to resist as a -5% limitation, so that's what I'd use. has an example of Armor Divisor limitation being applied with stun guns

Resistant and ImmunityEdit

GURPS Powers 169 "adds to rolls to resist any Affliction, Fatigue Attack, or Toxic Attack defined as poison"

The Weird page 23 "Immunity to Pain lets you ignore knockdown, physical stun, physical torture, and painful or stunning afflictions."

Divine Favor Resistant to Pain +8 [15] (or Very High Pain Threshold) acts as High Pain Threshold, with an additional +5 on knockdown and stunning rolls, rolls to resist painful or stunning afflictions


Kromm QuotesEdit

Sean Punch has commented on Affliction in the following posts to the SJG GURPS Forums:

  • On HT rolls for beneficial Afflictions [1], [2], [3]
  • On Afflictions causing multiple effects [4]
  • On getting Affliction past armor [5]
  • On affecting inanimate objects [6]
  • On combat techniques not causing Afflictions unless so noted [7]
  • On Affliction affecting defenses and reaction rolls if it causes an attribute penalty [8]
  • On SM penalties and cutoffs [9]
  • On the Choking Affliction versus the Choke spell [10]
  • On designing spells with Affliction-like effects [11]
  • On his ambivalence about the cost structure [12]
    • To be honest, it bugs me some, too.* Were I doing it over again, I'd probably set up Affliction more like Leech or Terror and say that it's x points to be able to do it at all and then y points/level to do it more effectively, where x > y. Modifiers would apply to the final cost. It's hard to say what fair values of x and y would be in this model (Leech uses x = 25, y = 4, while Terror uses x = 30, y = 10), but I'd start at x = 10, y = 2 and see how balanced it was.
  • On two possible ways to change the cost [13]
    • Part of me likes 10 + 3/level and simply taking the penalty off recovery rolls.
    • Part of me thinks that maybe we should just define a per-die cost, as with Innate Attack, and require the Affliction roll to exceed DR and cause a HT roll at -1 per 2 points penetrating, as with Side Effect. That way, Affliction 1d would work against unarmored normals, Affliction 10d would be enough to zap most humans with HT 1-20, and you could go nuts with Affliction 10d(10) or 100d or whatever to stun guys in battlesuits. And of course the countless places where the rules get all complicated and have to approximate Affliction levels with damage dice would go away. And Absorption could work vs. Affliction. had Nereidalbel claim:

Kromm has endorsed a 0-point switch to give the target control of the Afflicted advantage. Note that this must be specified when you buy the power, and cannot be changed.

Unclear if a post can be located to support that.

PK QuotesEdit


I've talked with Sean about it over email, and he agreed that the rules don't prevent anyone from afflicting themselves with their own Affliction -- it's no different than shooting yourself in the foot with your own Crushing Attack.

The downsides are threefold. First, while the attack roll can be assumed to succeed, you still have to make/fail your HT roll. (If a Malediction, you don't have to resist, but still must make your Will roll.) Second, you then have a limited version of the advantage -- limited in that you have no control over its duration and cannot end it early, and that you can't change the details on how it's being used midway (e.g., you could use Affliction (Shrinking 5) to only give yourself two levels of Shrinking, but once shrunk, you could not shrink or grow any more). Third, you have no access to any of the cool tricks from Powers -- e.g., you can't add Temporary Enhancements to the afflicted ability, because you don't have the ability, you have an Affliction that provides it. So you could only add Temporary Enhancements, Extra Effort, etc., to the Affliction. You also lose out on Power Dodges, etc.

Instantaneous abilities (e.g., Affliction (Warp)) don't suffer from the second set of downfalls, but usually suffer worse from the third set -- losing the ability to Warp instantly at -10 is a huge loss to the Warp ability, and you can't do that with Affliction (Warp). Afflictions can only Power Parry, and only if the GM agrees that it's appropriate -- so at best, you might be able to warp away 1d (assuming a level 1 Affliction) of an incoming projectile attack. No blink-dodging.


If you want to buy Affliction (Warp) explicitly to give the subject the ability to consciously, controllably Warp for minutes equal to his margin of success (I say MoS since, presumably, this'd be a "benefliction"), you can. You just have to make this explicit when you're building the ability, and once done, you can not use it as an exoteleport attack. If you want that, you have to buy it separately. You can buy it as an AA if the GM allows. (Note that you can't just take the "Advantage, Warp" enhancement twice and add Selectivity, because this is an issue of how the Affliction itself is set up.)


I disguised myself as a potted plant and hid in Sean Punch's house until he came home, at which point I administered the truth serum and interrogated him .. he agreed that the GURPS rules don't prevent anyone from afflicting themselves with their own Affliction -- the confusing blurb on p. 116 of Powers notwithstanding -- it's no different than shooting yourself in the foot with your own Crushing Attack

Racial Templates Edit

Affliction appears on the follow racial templates

  • Djinn Ascended Ones in Banestorm p. 189
  • Medusas in Banestorm p. 195
  • Lilith in Fantasy p. 54
  • Imp in Fantasy p. 109
  • Larva in Fantasy p. 213
  • Skunk lens of Wolverine in Dungeon Fantasy 5 - Allies p. 11
  • Shoulder Dragon in Dungeon Fantasy 5 - Allies p. 28

Bestaries Edit

Affliction appears in the following bestiary entries

  • Giant Spiders in Banestorm p. 221
  • Wyverns in Banestorm p. 226
  • Miser Troll in Creatures of the Night Vol. 2 p. 5
  • Urimander in Creatures of the Night Vol. 2 p. 17
  • Chronochaotic Spider in Creatures of the Night Vol. 3 p. 4
  • Flutter Devil in Creatures of the Night Vol. 4 p. 9
  • Trantid in Creatures of the Night Vol. 4 p. 11
  • Watchtower Spirit in Creatures of the Night Vol. 19
  • Herecine in Fantasy p. 47
  • Panther in Fantasy p. 49
  • Hellkittens in Banestorm - Abydos p. 58

See AlsoEdit