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Old 03-04-2018, 11:34 PM   #1
Otaku's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: South Dakota, USA
Default [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#55): Extra Life

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If you're new to this series or just want to leave feedback about it, check out the Introduction Thread. If you need help finding something we've already discussed, johndallman is maintaining an index of which traits we've discussed. This is especially handy if the trait you are searching for happens to have been part of a multi-subject review.


Extra Life (p. B55) is listed as a Mental, Exotic Advantage that costs 25 CP per life. As long as you're familiar with classic video games, this is another trait that is exactly what it says it is; your character can come back to from the dead once for each time you take Extra Life. Being labeled as Mental means it should follow a character who (for example) changes bodies while being Exotic means you'll always need GM approval. The text makes it clear that, no matter how clearly dead your character is supposed to have been, you're actually alive, and that the specifics of how this works need to be worked out by the GM and player. What I cannot tell, from the [Basic] text alone, is your exact condition when you are revived; for example, do you arrive at full HP, the amount you had before you died, etc. Extra Life is a one-time deal; once you use it once, you remove it from your character sheet, which also lowers your CP total by 25.

There are two Limitations designed for use with Extra Life: "Copy" and "Requires Body", both also on p. B66. Copy represents an Extra Life by creating an actual backup copy of your character through processes in-game; you return as you were when the Copy was made, ignoring any changes (good or bad) that may have occurred to your character since the backup was made, unless they would logically carry over (like certain Social traits). In the real world, you make a copy of your character sheet at that exact moment; whatever method you use in the setting, it is supposed to be something that actually exists at the same time as your actual character, and thus may need to be protected lest someone destroys or alters it. For dealing with such hassles, you gain a -20% discount. Requires Body means your body doesn't return to life, but everything about your mental self does in some form appropriate to the setting: a disembodied spirit, a digital copy of your mind, etc. Excluding, of course, additional factors that would change things (like taking Copy and Requires Body at the same time). You are totally unable to interact with the physical world until you acquire a new body, which may be matter-of-fact or quite difficult depending upon the setting and circumstances. This is a -40% Limitation when such bodies are illegal, rare, or expensive, but only -20% if none of those apply.

Related Traits

These are traits that are closely related enough to be worth naming, but either are not closely enough related to be worth going into detail or are which are better reserved for another [Basic] Advantage of the Week thread.
  • Hard to Kill
  • Unkillable 2
  • Unkillable 3

Other Supplements
  • GURPS Powers includes one mention of Extra Life, but only while explaining a particular Limitation for which it is ineligible.
  • GURPS Powers: Divine Favor (see Rupert's post, below)
  • GURPS Reign of Steel features a custom Modifier.
  • GURPS Supers includes two short, simple mentions of Extra Life.
  • Pyramid 3/83, in the article "Pointless Monster Hunting", includes a trait based on Extra Life.
  • GURPS Update lets us know that the Third Edition version of this trait has the same name and CP cost.
  • GURPS Zombies also features a custom Modifier.

Past Editions

I'll be referencing the entry for Extra Life found on page 36 of Compendium I. This is listed in the chapter for Occult and Paranormal Advantages. It isn't a long entry; as mentioned above, was priced at 25 CP per Extra Life in this edition as well. As with the Fourth Edition rules, no matter how dead you appeared to be, somehow you comeback. It even includes the line about how the details are between the player and GM. There are two notable differences, though. The first is that RAW states this trait may be purchased with earned CP in a cinematic campaign, even if you never had the trait before. The second is a cross-reference to another Third Edition Advantage named "Resurrection", which can be found on page 64 of Compendium I. Resurrection is the Third Edition equivalent of Unkillable 2 or 3; the ambiguity is because it does not work exactly like either of these. This is a simplification; I'll go into more detail when we eventually cover the Unkillable series of Advantages in their own entry.

Useful Links

Feel free to suggest any existing threads or other, appropriate links on this matter.

Discussion Starters

This is (usually) a generic list of questions for those who want to participate in the discussion but need a little help. If you already know what you want to say, feel free to skip these. ;)
  • Have you ever taken Extra Life for one of your PCs or NPCs?
  • Is there anything Extra Life does really well?
  • Is there anything you think Extra Life could or should do differently?
  • Any related traits you believe are necessary for full discussion? Go ahead and bring them up, but remember that this is a thread for Extra Life.
  • Any thoughts on how the 4e version of Extra Life compares to its counterpart from earlier editions?
My 4e library consists of Basic Set: Characters, Basic Set: Campaigns, Martial Arts, Power-Ups 2, Power-Ups 3, Powers, Powers: Enhanced Senses, Social Engineering, Supers, and one issue of Pyramid (3/83), mostly provided through the generosity of others. Thanks! :)

Last edited by Otaku; 03-12-2018 at 05:25 PM.
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Old 03-05-2018, 01:44 AM   #2
Join Date: Oct 2010
Location: Cambridge, UK
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#55): Extra Life

Originally Posted by Otaku View Post
What I cannot tell, from the [Basic] text alone, is your exact condition when you are revived; for example, do you arrive at full HP, the amount you had before you died, etc.
That depends on the specifics of the means by which you come back, I think. It certainly did in the only case I've seen in play.

A PC got shot, passed -1 x HP, failed his HT roll and died. His spirit Ally saw this, grabbed his departing soul, stuffed it back in the body, and applied his Healing (Affects Substantial) power, getting the PC above -1 x HP. The character had 25 unspent points (the player doesn't worry about game mechanics very much) and was allowed to buy an Extra Life with them. So he was alive, but still on negative HP, and needed to heal up from there.

The player wanted the PC to have low HT (9, at the time) for background reasons and hadn't fully understood how easy that made dying. He's now investing in Hard to Kill.
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Old 03-05-2018, 07:55 AM   #3
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Join Date: Aug 2004
Location: Wellington, NZ
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#55): Extra Life

Extra Life also turns up in GURPS Powers: Divine Favor, on p.13 in the box "Ressurection Lite". It's also retroactive in this case, and if the character doesn't have the 25 points to pay for it on the spot, they take disads or lose advantages to get the points to pay.
Rupert Boleyn

"A pessimist is an optimist with a sense of history."
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Old 03-06-2018, 11:35 PM   #4
Fossilized Rappy
Join Date: Jun 2015
Default Re: [Basic] Advantage of the Week (#55): Extra Life

There aren't many modifiers specifically for Extra Life and Extra Life alone, but two do exist.
  • GURPS Reign of Steel: Will to Live (pg. 19) provides Brain Pod, for your jarred brains or AI cores that can survive their body's destruction; unsurprisingly, it has to be taken in tandem with Requires Body.
  • GURPS Zombies (pg. 52) has the Reanimation modifier, which guarantees you'll rise as an undead.
I've never used Brain Pod, but Reanimation has proven useful for some Sorcery spells designed to reflect rituals that guarantee immortality at a price.
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advantage, advantage of the week, extra life, week, [basic]

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