An advantage from GURPS Powers page 96, similar to Vampiric Bite on Basic Set: Characters page 96 and the 3e Bite power.


In 2011 the Pyramid contributor Hiroshima incorrectly stated:

Now, Leech isn't an Attack (and does not require Attack maneuvers), last time I checked, and works as a free action, once you've got the conditions right. This means you could be in AoD, and Malediction-leeching

This misunderstanding was propogated in the 2012 thread by PseudoFenton

it doesn't say that leech requires an action of any sort, which would infer that its a free action so long as the conditions are met (lengthy contact).

It clearly is an attack and thus would require attack maneuvers, benefit from extra attack / AOA double / dual-weapon attack, rapid strike, etc. based on the following cases of it being called an attack repeatedly in multiple books:

Quotes from PowersEdit

Powers 11 mentions:

After switching to an attack (Affliction, Binding, Innate Attack, Leech, Neutralize, Obscure, Static, and anything else the GM views as an “attack”)

Powers 96 mentions:

Your attack doesn’t harm your victim any faster

Powers 97 mentions:

Talent adds to all rolls to affect the target– including attack rolls to touch victims and Will rolls to use Leech with Malediction.
  • So: since is there no known actual attack roll (like Worrying) when sucking the HP (unless this is added as some kind of limitation, or via the Will roll required for Maledictions), the +1 is to the bite (or other form of contact) made beforehand. This means to use it with things like Rapid Strike or Dual-Weapon Attack it should be given some kind of attack roll, or else designed as some kind of technique where you buy off the to-hit penalties with some kind of drawbacks)

Powers 102 mentions:

an attack that normally ignores DR (e.g., Leech)

Powers 154 mentions:

Many transient abilities call for an Attack maneuver to activate. The most important of these are Affliction, Binding, Innate Attack, Leech, Neutralize, and any advantage with

the Ranged enhancement. (Exception: Malediction changes the maneuver needed from Attack to Concentrate.) If the user can’t make an Attack, he can’t use such abilities.

Powers 164 mentions:

Melee Attacks Includes: All normally ranged attacks modified with Melee Attack, as well as “touch only” abilities such as Leech and Neutralize

Powers 235 mentions:

attack ability: Any ability that can injure an opponent or compromise his capabilities – most often Affliction, Binding, Innate Attack, Leech, or Neutralize. Often shortened to “attack.”

quotes from HorrorEdit

Horror 21 mentions:

If you steal more than 1/3 of his HP with an unbroken series of attacks

This does not specify that an attack must be levied every single second, though.

Page 12 under Gaudivore gives an interesting case where Leech 1 with Ranged+Malediction, when activated, sucks at its rate (1/second) for a total number of seconds equal to Margin of Success without needing additional resistance rolls.

This can be explained by two possible approaches

Approach 1Edit

using Extended Duration combined with Limited by Margin. With the baseline of 1 second, there are 2 options:

  • 3x duration +20% which would give you a total of 3 damage over 3 seconds
  • 10x duration +40% which would give you a total of 10 damage over 10 seconds.

As a 0% modifier, these would be offset by:

  • Limited by Margin 4
  • Limited by Margin 8

This would result in

  • for +20/-20: 3 seconds with a margin of 4, 9/4 (2.25) with margin of 3, 6/4 (3/2 or 1.5) with margin of 2, 0.75s wih margin of 1
  • for +40/-40:
    • 10 seconds with margin of 8
    • 8.75 seconds with margin of 7
    • 7.5 seconds with margin of 6
    • 6.25 seconds with margin of 5
    • 5 seconds with margin of 4
    • 3.75 seconds with margin of 3
    • 2.5 seconds with margin of 2
    • 1.25 seconds with margin of 1

The 2nd approach is closer, and has a benefit (higher seconds:margin ratio at 5+, even with downward rounding) and a drawback (a cap of 10 seconds)

Approach 2Edit

GURPS Power-Ups 4 page 14 has the Fixed Duration enhancement worth 0% which changes a variable duration based on an actual margin of success to a duration based on a margin of success of 3.

The example of Affliction changes this from 1 second per margin (stun) or 1 minute per margin (other stuff) to 3 seconds or 3 minutes.

So basically, the margin-based durations are 1/3 the fixed rate multiplied by a margin.

Inverting this with a hypothetical Unfixed Duration, a 0% feature should actually be 1/3 a second per margin of victory. The benefits of a margin higher than 3 should be offset by lower duration if there is a margin less than 3.

Using this, the ability basically has a +20% extended duration equivalent built in for free, with nothing to offset it.


P142 gives the example of the 49 point abilities "Steal Energy" (-15%) doing 2d+2 and "Steal Life" (+30%) doing 1d.

B263's rule converts 7 to 2d and 3 to 1d so these could have been modified from Leech 9 and Leech 4, which would have cost 57 (85% is 48.45) and 37 (130% is 48.1) at base.


This indicates an 'attack' must be expended to use Leech, every single second that HP is sucked out. Someone could in theory do All Out Attack Double to do a Bite (which gives a free grapple in Martial Arts) and then use their 2nd attack to Leech.

The "per second" would limit spending 1 attack per second though. "Reduced Time" is not an option because that does not work on attack powers (B108)

However the 1/second (unless increased) could be interpreted as "per attack" so someone doing All Out Attack: Double to do Leech+Leech could in theory drain 2/second by using the ability twice. This would only be possible if they had already secured a grapple, of course.

The "per second" rather than meaning "most times you can use ability per second" is more like a built-in delay, meaning that you don't actually inflict the damage / receive the HP until 1 second after spending the attack, during which you must maintain your grapple (unless Ranged/Malediction enhanced) because if the victim breaks your grapple during that time it would violate the ability requirements.

So this would mean you could do an all-out attack double Grapple + Leech but you would not actually inflict the damage until your next turn.



Really creepy ones might drink blood through their rootlets! At the minimum, the latter would have Leech 1 with Malediction and Ranged.

This is a strange approach because it cannot be dodged and does not allow targetting the rootlets. Avoiding Ranged/Malediction and simply statting the Rootlets as Extra Arms with the "Long" enhancement would probably make more sense.


Modifiers in PowersEdit

P96 had some special enhancements:

  • Accelerated Healing
  • Hazard
  • Heals FP
    • the second version described here is named "Heals FP

after HP" on page 52 of GURPS Psionic Powers

    • there is no known opposite of "Heals HP after FP"
  • Steal (Other Score)
  • Steal Youth

And the special limitation:

  • Only Heals FP

Although under that category they suggested the use of Contact Agent or Blood Agent. "Required Sense, Reversed" would also make sense for those who need to touch blood with their hands (Sense: Touch) or with their tongue (Sense: Taste) but this was not mentioned.

The WeirdEdit

  • Requires Grapple for Innate Attacks seems similar to how Leech works
  • page 40's "Withering" applies an unexplained Cosmic +50%.

Modifiers in PyramidEdit

At the Designer's Notes added "Boosts Abilities"

modifiers in GURPS Psionic PowersEdit

  • page 51 introduces "Nuisance Effect, Can transfer personality traits" limitation
  • page 73 introduces "you don't grow younger while your subject ages" limitation

modifiers in ThaumatologyEdit

The Sorcery supplement, page 22, interprets Takes Extra Time 1 as "Every two seconds, he loses HP equal to the level". It has "the subject must be either willing or completely helpless", ignoring the grappling aspect.

Modifiers in HorrorEdit

Horror 12 mentions "Steal FP, +50%" under the Gaudivore, this is the version where at 0 FP, HP is stolen. More uniquely:

  • Only Joy -50%, presumably meaning the ability only works on people who are experiencing joy.

Horror 20:

  • Leech (below) can have “Heals ER” or “Only Heals ER” for the price of “Heals FP” or “Only Heals FP.”

Horror 21 introduces a larger list of modifiers than Powers:

  • Accelerated Healing
  • Addictive Bite
  • Doleovore
  • Hazard
  • Heals FP
  • Metuovore
  • Steal (Other Score)
  • Steal Youth
  • Obligate Doleovore
  • Obligate Metuovore
  • Only Heals FP

modifiers in Creatures of the NightEdit

volume 1 page 20's "slake hounds" have 2 Leeches linked, the weaker HT drain which takes extra time has "Extended Duration, Only when other Leech drains HP" which refers to the first having "Steal FP then HP"


Christopher R. Rice quotesEdit


Cyclic (Enhancement: GURPS Basic Set, p. 104): This requires Cosmic at the +100% level to add this trait in the first place as well as Ranged and Malediction. After the first attack, your ability continues to work draining your target at the interval your purchased. Cyclic on Leech is automatically resistible, if it’s not double the final price of this modifier. For example, if you drained 1 HP every 10 seconds for the next 60 seconds this modifier would be +400%. 6 intervals x 10 seconds (+50%) = +300% plus +100% for the Cosmic modifier. If your target cannot resist your draining him this would be worth +700% instead!
Reliable (Enhancement: GURPS Powers, p. 109) combined with Malediction allows you to win Quick Contests even without a high Will.

The problem with these approaches is that Reliable is not available on attacks (so no, it can't help willing Maledictions without a high Will) and that Leech is inherently Cyclic (it does damage per second, not a static damage per attack)

Kromm quotesEdit


I think you could approximate it fairly well with Leech given Cosmic, +50% to let it ride on any attack, not just a grapple, and a small Accessibility limitation that restricts total HP healed to the damage delivered by the attack. You'll need other modifiers to get the timing, rate of return, etc., right, but those two should give you the necessary effects.

2010 "Not another shrubbery" said that Kromm told him the following:

The idea is that you can use Leech on things that have IQ. IQ 0 trees and grass shouldn't count.

But then said "Leech (Plants)" or "Leech (Mechanical)" could be good variants.


Leech can only process one HP stream at a time. To get around that, you would need Cosmic, +50%.
Even leaving off Ranged, look at the sheer expense of Leech with Area Effect 1, +50% (you can't add Emanation, -20% to get points back, as Leech without Ranged has no range in the first place)


Emanation is foremost a limitation that removes range from an area effect, not an enhancement that gives you immunity to that effect. If the ability already lacks range, then making it cheaper doesn't grant you immunity, but then again, you don't need immunity. The only reason this just about never matters is that almost no abilities have zero range yet allow Area Effect. Usually, you have to add Emanation to curtail range. Leech is odd in having no range to begin with yet being warpable into a form that affects an area . . . and Leech cannot affect the user.

Taking Area Effect or Ranged alone simply isn't an option – that's just how Leech is. What Malediction does is fairly price the "no grapple" angle by assessing a range-based modifier for not doing that. After that, Ranged can project the ability at a distance while Area Effect can surround you with it.

PK quotesEdit

on Area EffectEdit

Pee Kitty mentioned in this 2006 post:

First re being able to take the Emanation limitation to reduce the cost of Area Effect.

That should work fine, except that you'll also need to add Malediction.


The concept behind Leech is that you are limited by (A) having to make contact with a person and hold onto them tightly or (B) having to win a Quick Contest against them.
Since you have given your ability range (via AE instead of Ranged, which I think is certainly fair), you'll need to also add Malediction.

Indicating that Area Affect (minimum +50%) is a fair alternative to Ranged (+40%) but that Malediction would still be necessary.

on Cosmic Ranged without MaledictionEdit

I'd be content to make the ruling that you can use Cosmic to justify adding Ranged to Leech without Malediction, but that means it is affected by DR. So even a simple leather jacket will totally block Leech 1 (Ranged). I also wouldn't allow No Signature to be added, as the subject should always have a chance to Dodge.

on Healing multipliersEdit

in 2007:

My answer would have to be, "No, Leech isn't healing. It's transferrence." You're not recovering or being healed in any way, you're just taking the hit points away from them and putting them in you.
Otherwise you lead to craziness like two PCs with HP 40 using Leech as free Healing. One drains the other 10 HP (and heals 40), then the second drains the first 10 HP (and heals 40) -- both continue until one is only down 1 HP.

According to a post by blackseasofinfinity otherwise was said by Kromm:

I would say so. Anywhere the rules say you *heal* HP (specifically that verb!), "High HP and Healing" should apply.
I cannot see a good reason to allow Steal Vitality (explicitly allowed as "magical healing") but then to turn around and not allow Leech (Magical, -10%) . . . which is basically the same thing.
One could argue that two guys with Leech and 40 HP could then do cheesy things like get 4:1 healing effects, back and forth, until almost fully healed . . . but so what?
Assuming human-scale beings, they've paid c. 60 points for lots of HP -- or assuming ultra-strong critters, perhaps closer to 300 points for lots of ST.
It's no worse than Mage A missing 2 HP and Mage B missing 4 HP, and A burning 2 HP to cast Major Healing on B and heal 4 HP (A now missing 4 HP, B full), B doing the same for A (A now full, B missing 2 HP), A burning 1 HP to heal B (A now missing 1 HP, B full), thereby resulting in two wizards going from missing 6 HP to missing 1 HP *and* getting around penalties for casting on self, all for 1 point in Major Healing.
Given the examples set by the magic system, I think it's best to take a generous stance here.

on cumulative Malediction penaltiesEdit

an ability which steals from everyone around him simultaneously, at a penalty to the roll equal to the number of subjects minus 1 (e.g., if there are four people around, the Malediction Leech roll would be his Will-3 versus their Wills.) Add Independent, +70%, if you want to avoid this penalty.

This is probably derived from P100 under Area Effect:

If the advantage specifies a penalty to affect each victim after the first, the user has a penalty equal to the total number of potential victims, less one, on his roll for each subject

Combined with P108:

you’re exempt from penalties for simultaneous uses.

This refers to P158's "Multiple Feats" rule:

Leech is not an instant attack (it happens over time, the 1 damage and 1 HP happens exactly 1 second after it is triggered by expending an attack or concentrate) and this is why the "-1 per active ability already “on.”" applies.

Without malediction, this penalty would apply to normal Leech if it had a die roll and had Takes Extra Time on it. It is unbalanced to not allow basic Leech a die roll for that reason.

on Malediction's ranged penalties with Area EffectEdit

The way I was understanding Malediction would interact with this is that the Will roll to activate the ability still suffers a -1 for every hex away from the PC.
However my player feels that the distance becomes irrelevant and that everyone in the area is effected at the same skill level.

Your player is right -- a power with Area Effect affects everyone in the area equally.
Think of it as analogous to damage. If you had Burning Attack 2d with Area Effect and Emanation, your attack would do 2d damage to everyone in the area equally, right? So if you have Affliction with Area Effect and Emanation, your attack affects everyone in the area equally.
The various forms of Malediction affect range -- and for an area effect, the range is always range from wielder to the center of the area. In this case, range is 0, because the wielder is the center of the area.
For your version, add Dissipation.


See alsoEdit