Thursday, June 26, 2014

Melee Academy: Predictably Unpredictable

The Joker, Jack Sparrow, ever wanted to play that guy, the crazy bastard who comes up with quirky schemes in the middle of combat and then some how pulls them off? Besides buying a lot of Luck there are a couple of other ways you might be able to pull it off.

The Big Crazy Plan That Should Not Work
"You and I remember budapest very differently" - Deceptive Attack allows a character to take a -2 to their attack roll to give their target a -1 to defend against that attack, but what about planning for a larger battle? Allowing a "Deceptive Plan" option for Tactics or Strategy might be a way to go. If the GM allows then each -2 penalty accepted on a Tactics rolls gives the opposing side a -1 to their roll. If using the rules from GURPS Martial Arts (p. 60) each -2 penalty you accept on your roll gives you either one reroll using the abstract rules or one move if using the mapped rules - even if the character with the Deceptive plan fails the contest overall, he can use these rerolls/moves. He's essentially trading away victory (assuming he has a high skill) for some surety thanks to his tricky methods.

New Character Trait

This Talent, like Jack of All Trades (GURPS Power-Ups 3, p. 11) is different and breaks mot of the rules for creating new Talents. It affects all rolls you make when you are trying to deceive others. This covers Feints, Deceptive Attacks, Dirty Tricks, Tactics rolls to set up an ambush, Body Control rolls to convince others you are dead, and so on. Such rolls are usually Quick Contests, but the GM may allow this bonus to apply to any situation where he feels it appropriate.

Reaction Bonus and Alternative Benefit: None.
Notes: This trait's point cost was calculated as follows per level: DX +1  (Only for deceiving others, -70%) [6/level]; IQ +1 (Only for deceiving others, -70%) [6/level]; HT +1 (Only for deceiving others, -70%) [3/level]. As the IQ increase raises Will and Per, it affects skills based on those scores, too.

New Techniques
I didn't come up with  Deceptive Strike, but it sure does belong in this post, The_Matrix_Walker over on the forums posted this technique in this post of this thread. I've modded it a bit for my campaigns - but it was his idea, not mine - though Quicksilver Strike is one I came up with for use in my campaigns.

Deceptive Strike*
Default: Skill-7.
Prerequisites: appropriate skill; cannot exceed prerequisite skill.

Your attack moves so quickly that opponents suffer a -2 penalty to all active defenses, your speed can be a detriment however, if you fail to connect, you must roll vs. DX or fall. If the GM allows the penalty for Active Defenses can be increased further - each -1 penalty to active defenses results in an additional -6 to this technique. This is a cinematic technique.

Statistics: Opponent's Defenses; Dodge -2 Penalty (-4 to default), Parry -2 Penalty (-2 to default), Block -2 Penalty (-2 to default) with the drawback "Must Roll vs DX or fall on a miss. (If a combined with a maneuver (ie. kick) that has this drawback already, apply a -1 Penalty to the existing DX Roll)."

Quicksilver Strike*
Default: Skill-5.
Prerequisites: Any melee weapon or unarmed combat skill; cannot exceed prerequisite skill.

Use this technique, instead of your skill when making a Move and Attack (p. B00) with it; ignore the skill cap of 9. This is a cinematic technique.

Picking Over the Bones
When it comes down to it, playing a character who comes up with mad schemes amidst combat is a role-playing opportunity - not a roll-playing one. Players with character concepts like this are going to need Luck to pull off the impossible. Perhaps with the limitation "Aspected, Deception, -20%" or even "Aspective, Deceptive Warfare." Such characters will probably also want to set aside unspent character points to make use of Influencing Success Rolls.


  1. I did some simulations on the math of rerolls. A single reroll (reroll 3d6, take the best result) will, on the average, only help you 50% of the time. When it does help, it improves your margin of success by an average of a bit more than 3. Because a reroll only helps half the time, I'd hazard that Deceptive planning might be best as a -3 per reroll instead of -2 . . . but it's a neat mechanic.